July 26-28, was one of the outstanding weekends of the year for roots music festivals. Rockygrass took place in Lyons, Colorado. Floydfest put 100 artists on 8 stages in Virginia. And on the rocky shores of Rhode Island, The iconic Newport Folk Festival celebrated its 60th anniversary year, with supergroups, surprises and some powerful women. Craig Havighurst spoke with journalist Kelly McCartney, host of WMOT's Hangin' & Sangin', who was on hand for her first Newport.
On the 100th anniversary of Pete Seeger's birth:
"They paid tribute to Pete on the final night, Sunday night. The finale was called 'If I Had A Song' and it was a bit of a singalong hosted by Chris Funk (of The Decemberists and Black Prairie) and he gathered up a bunch of folks to come and do covers, including some guys from The Shins and Fruit Bats doing a cover of 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' with Judy Collins standing on the stage next to them. That was wonderful."
On the big stage debut of The Highwomen, the super-group with Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby, whose debut album comes out Sept. 6.
"It's a push to make women's voices heard in country and roots music in general. Americana radio does a better job at gender equality, but there's not parity I don't think."
On a super-charged Sunday afternoon set by Our Native Daughters featuring Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Allison Russell and Layla McCalla.
"The band was crying. The audience were crying. To me that's the heart of folk music. It's why it matters and why it always will matter. It's telling these stories that must be told and getting them across in one of the most powerful ways possible is through music. And our Native Daughters did that in a big, big way on Sunday."