Mavis Staples

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Saturday, June 9th, the third day of Bonnaroo 2018 dawned warm and sunny. As the morning sunshine transformed into sweltering afternoon concertgoers flocked to shady spots and the Centeroo fountain to cool down any way they could. The hottest day of the festival was also the most crowded, with cars full of new festival goers pouring in all day long. Despite two days of nonstop partying many in the crowd were still in an eager and festive mood and most of the entertainment venues began to fill up by the afternoon.

The 35th Annual Chicago Blues Fest held on June 8th to the 10th proved to be three days of great blues music, both honoring the past and turning towards the future.

All I heard on the streets of Seattle this summer was how great the Bumbershoot lineup looked and that this was one of the best years in recent memory. While 2014 marked only my second year at the music and arts festival that takes over Seattle Center on Labor Day weekend, when I compared this year’s lineup to last year’s impressive collection of artists, I couldn’t help but shake my head sadly.

The Newport Folk Festival may not be a monster fest on the order of a Bonnaroo or a Coachella, but it has rejuvenated itself over the last half dozen years into a premier summer stop for a broad range of alternative, indie, country-rock and folk acts. Much of the rejuvenation has been the result of a conscious decision by festival organizers to loosen the definition of “folk” to include a much wider swath of bands – really anybody who could plausibly include an acoustic guitar at least somewhere in their set list.

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