The storied Newport Folk Festival, which bills itself as “the original music festival” and has delivered historic moments on the East Coast since 1959, will uproot and head west in the fall for Way Over Yonder, a new festival taking place at the Santa Monica Pier.
The festival, produced by Newport, will take place on two stages on Oct. 5 and 6, and feature an impressive 10-artist roster that includes soulful country-rock singer Neko Case, songwriter Conor Oberst, Arizona geniuses Calexico and hard Nashville troubadour Justin Townes Earle, among others.
As is often the case with the Newport Folk Festival philosophy, its definition of “folk” is legendarily loose. The original fest is best known as one of the driving forces behind the rebirth and rediscovery of early blues and raw folk artists in the 1960s. During this period, the stage held acts ranging from the Rev. Gary Davis, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Dock Boggs, Clarence Ashley and others alongside young singers such as Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio and Jose Feliciano.
Most famously, Newport is where Bob Dylan went electric in 1965, and helped redefine both folk and rock music. Since then, the festival’s promoters have sponsored multi-artist tours, and continued presenting its flagship fest, which takes place this year in Newport, R.I., on July 26-28. This year’s lineup includes Beck, Avett Brothers, Feist, the Mountain Goats and others.
Whether any of the 10 acts gigging Way Over Yonder will change the sound of popular music will be determined in the fall.
The roster, below, will be augmented with an array of other singers performing in the pier’s Carousel.
Saturday, Oct. 5
Justin Townes Earle
Shovels & Rope
Sunday, Oct. 6
First Aid Kit
The Felice Brothers
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
Tickets go on sale June 14 at 10 a.m. through Ticketfly.
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit