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Roger Waters, Decemberists, First Aid Kit Among Newport Folk Headliners

By Ryan Book, The Music Times | May 21, 2015 11:52 AM EDT

The Newport Folk Festival has probably reached the peak of its lineup announcements as it revealed this week that former Pink Floyd leader and solo standout Roger Waters will be headlining the event. This marks the first performance for the bassist since the last show of his "The Wall" tour during 2013.

The announcement may have come as a way to spur on ticket sales. Thus far, only Friday has not sold out and that's in fact the night that Waters is scheduled to perform. And, with no offense meant to the headliners for Saturday and Sunday (The Decemberists and First Aid Kit, respectively), they aren't nearly as flashy as Friday's.

If you want tickets for Friday night, get them fast...the Waters announcement is sure to ensure a third sellout, and Rolling Stone reports that his set for the night will be "very special" for the event...although we don't know what that means. It's tough to imagine the concept rock god doing an entirely acoustic set however. Maybe that's the point: This year's event marks the 50th anniversary of the weekend when Bob Dylan took the stage with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and an army of electric guitar, a decision the instrumentally conservative crowd didn't take kindly to.

Another possibility is that Waters will revisit his 1992 concept album Amused to Death, which he'll coincidentally be rereleasing the same day as his Newport performance. It's far from the most popular bit in his vast catalogue...but it's commentary on the stupidity of television has only gotten, unfortunately, more relevant in the decades since its release. The "curse of technology" theme is certainly appropriate considering the event.

Waters obviously takes the cake in terms of prominence but the rest of the Rhode Island festival's lineup is worth noting. Other acts include Sufjan Stevens, Courtney Barnett, The Tallest Man on Earth, Iron & Wine, Ben Bridwell (of Band of Horses), Laura Marling, J Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.), Angel Olsen and more.

 

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