“Buy a flower crown, they’re tacky!”
As soon as I heard the guy selling flower crowns charmingly belittling his own product, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Despite the cool fog that hung over the weekend, taking in the towering eucalyptus trees that encase Golden Gate Park, I felt warm. Back at Outside Lands for my third year, it almost instantly felt like I was home again.
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.