What We Saw At Newport Folk 2017 : All Songs Considered The Newport Folk Festival is not just a festival — it's an annualized community. Photographer Adam Kissick captured it.
NPR logo What We Saw At Newport Folk 2017

What We Saw At Newport Folk 2017

Adam Kissick for NPR
Two audience members dance during Wilco's set at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Moments of unexpected magic are the Newport Folk Festival's calling card. The festival typically sells out well before its lineup is even announced — but the official lineup is more of a rough guideline, anyway, since the weekend is peppered every year with surprise performances and collaborations.

An unannounced slot at the smallest of Newport's main stages turned out to belong to Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, who played some new music with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and finished out their set by parading, second-line style, through the enormous crowd that had assembled.

Hiss Golden Messenger's M.C. Taylor assembled a few friends — including Justin Vernon, Phil Cook and Natalie Prass — to perform a tribute to Bill Withers' music.

And master songwriter John Prine, who played Sunday evening's last set, brought out Vernon, Rateliff, Jim James, Margo Price and Roger Waters, before a stageful of the weekend's performers gathered to sing "Paradise."

Newport's most dedicated festivalgoers, affectionately known as the Folk, know to expect surprises like this; they're what have made Newport Folk Festival one of the country's most unique and beloved music festivals for almost 60 years.

NPR Music's photographer Adam Kissick is ready for those surprises, too. He spent the weekend chasing them down, traversing the festival grounds at Fort Adams State Park many times over. (We asked him to check his step counter at the end of one day's work: eight miles.) Below, find some of what we saw at this year's festival. For some of what we heard, check back over the coming days as we continue to post audio from selected sets.

The gates are open — no running! Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Adam Kissick for NPR

Roger Waters and John Prine. Adam Kissick for NP hide caption

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Nancy And Beth (and Shakey Graves, and Nick Offerman). Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Jim James and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Hurray For The Riff Raff. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Angel Olsen. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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High five! Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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L.A. Salami. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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The Avett Brothers. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Rhiannon Giddens. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Two audience members dance during Wilco's set at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Adam Kissick for NPR

Two audience members dance during Wilco's set at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.

Adam Kissick for NPR

Chicano Batman. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Grandma's Hands (M.C. Taylor and friends). Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Nathaniel Rateliff and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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"Speak Out!" with Sharon Van Etten. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Jalen N'Gonda. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Robert Ellis. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Ben Gibbard. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Mandolin Orange. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Wilco and Billy Bragg. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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"Speak Out!" with Margo Price and Zach Williams. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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It was all a blur. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

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Adam Kissick for NPR