The Newport Folk Festival happens every year at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Started in 1959, it’s where a number of major folk players made their names—Joan Baez and Bob Dylan got big there. And it played a crucial role in what’s called the 60’s Blues revival.
Urban blues men like Muddy Waters had been steadily working from the time they went electric. But early folk blues artists at the real roots of the music had been silent for years. In the late 1950’s a new interest in early blues records led some fans to seek out the voices they heard on those 78s. And Newport offered a place to “debut” the men they found. Starting in 1963, Newport began to showcase newly rediscovered musicians. Artists most of the audience had assumed were long dead. Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, Reverend Gary Davis. All those legends were brought to a new audience at Newport. And the first to re-emerge and take the stage at Newport was Mississippi John Hurt . Let’s hear him pass out a little candy.