Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals Plot Their Returns for July, But With Reduced Capacities

The folk festival will be split into two separate three-day events as a result of the limited attendance possibilities.

Dolly Parton
Chris Willman / Variety

The Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals will both be returning to their home fort in Rhode Island in late July (overlapping into August by one day), although organizers caution that the two landmark gatherings “won’t look exactly the same” due to “modified capacities.” Tickets for the festivals, which tend to be near-instant sellouts even in a full-capacity year, will be made available “in phases.”

Most intriguing is the revelation that the Newport Folk Festival, which usually takes place on a three-day weekend, will now be spread across six days, July 23-28… which doesn’t mean that it’s a single six-day festival. “Due to COVID-19 capacity modifications, Newport Folk will be extending its dates to present two unique three-day events of surprise performances, storytelling, and workshops,” organizers said.

The fest has not revealed whether the two three-day events will present largely the same lineups for different audiences, a la a Coachella Festival, or have distinctly separate programming.

Newport Jazz will stick to the traditional thee-day schedule, but a heightened “intimacy” is in store for that, too. “Newport Jazz will also be modified to create three intimate days of amazing Jazz performances and surprises from July 30th to August 1st,” said the announcement.

As far as what to expect with either the practicalities of the festivals or how to obtain passes, the order of the day seems to be: Patience, in waiting for information to arrive… and maybe patience in waiting for a full-capacity festival to come back in 2022, for those who will inevitably not be able to get in.

“Due to modified capacities, we will be releasing access to this summer’s events in phases,” producers wrote. “Be aware that we have not gone on sale with any tickets, so please do not purchase from any site posting them for sale. We will be communicating with our members in the coming weeks to share more details about how they can join us this summer and will be announcing ticketing options for non-members soon after that. Our goal is to keep our ecosystem going until we can gather our entire communities next summer!

“We are working hand in hand with state and local government and various health officials to ensure that what we present will set a benchmark for safety and transparency through our protocols and communication,” the announcement continued. “We will be sharing more details on what to expect to members and fans very soon.”