Bands “graduate,” in a way, at Newport Folk: It’s not uncommon for an act to be booked for one of the festival’s smaller stages, only to have their popularity spike with a lucrative album release and a coveted main-stage spot the following year. This has been the case for the The Avett Brothers, who recently headlined the Newport Folk Festival.
ESQUIRE.COM: How have things changed for you since the first time you played the Newport Folk Festival?
SCOTT AVETT: With Newport, I was saying to Bob, “We can’t build it up to be more than something it already is.” There’s been tough shows here sometimes, but we’ve actually had a great show every time we’ve been here.
SETH AVETT: As soon as you get here, any intimidation factor just completely washes away. It’s just a bunch of smiling faces. It’s a friendly atmosphere where you don’t feel like you have to live up to any legend, because there’s no one here vocalizing any intimidation in any way.
BOB CRAWFORD: Something that’s always struck me about Newport is that the history is very present wherever you go. You see pictures of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez around, but the festival isn’t hung up on its history — it’s proud of it. I remember seeing the David Wax Museum right outside there at that tent bringing down the house, as though that were their big coming-out here, as did Calexico. Newport Folk just seems like it continues to be relevant.