2023 Newport Folk, Day 1: James Taylor Fills In

by | Jul 30, 2023

Above: Nickel Creek on the Quad Stage Friday at the 2023 Newport Folk Fest. Phot by Emily Hagen

So, what happens when you lose an act just hours before a show. You get someone to fill in, of course. On Friday, the first day of the Newport Folk Festival, that meant tapping James Taylor. Folk singer-songwriter Noah Kahan was due to play the Quad stage late Friday afternoon. Those who got festival text alerts got the news first: James Taylor to play on the Quad Stage in five minutes. 

Taylor’s set was loose and familiar and sweet, as he acknowledged he’d had no real time to prepare so he invited up the only people he knew could join him with no rehearsal – his wife, Kim, and son, Henry. 

The impromptu set symbolizes the magic of the Newport Folk Festival. 

But Friday had other treats in store, in particular, Maggie Rogers’s gorgeous voice and welcome guests SistaStrings and her former bandmate, Del Water Gap, Caamp’s Americana, Nickel Creek’s bluegrass joy and Thee Sacred Souls, whose lead singer Josh Lane just could not be contained and had to bring his R&B vibe straight into the audience. 

Josh Lane of Thee Scared Souls gets comfy in the audience. Photo by Benjamin Collins

Margo Price joins Jim James of My Morning Jacket on the Fort Stage during Friday’s closeout show. Photo by Nina Westervelt

SistaStrings Monique and Chauntee Ross on the Foundation Stage Friday. Photo by Emily Hagen

Mdou Moctar played the Quad Stage Friday. Photo by Adam Kissick

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