Festival
Directed by Murray Lerner.
Produced by Murray Lerner in association with Patchke Productions.
Black and white, 95 minutes.
1967.
DVD release by Eagle Rock Entertainment, October 2005.

Reviewed in:
New York Post, Oct 24, 1967, p.33
By Archer Winsten.
New York Times, Oct 24, 1967, p.53
By Bosley Crowther.
Daily News, Oct 24, 1967.
By Wanda Hale.
Los Angeles Free Press, Nov 17, 1967, p. 13.
By Gene Youngblood.
Village Voice, Aug 11, 1998, p. 139.
By J.Hoberman.

This is a documentary of the 1963-1966 Newport Folk Festivals. Some of the artists filmed in concert or in interviews include:

Joan Baez, Theodore Bikel, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, The Butterfield Blues Band, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Dick and Mimi Fariņa, Freedom Singers, Ronnie Gilbert, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, Mel Lyman, Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry, Odetta, Peter Paul and Mary, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, and the Staple Singers.

Richard and Mimi don't appear until about an hour and 18 minutes into the film, and then there is only about two minutes of footage--the famous rain-drenched concert on Sunday, July 25th, 1965. You can hear snippets of "One Way Ticket", "Reno, Nevada" and "Pack Up Your sorrows". Brief as it is, it's a priceless moment, with Richard smiling ecstatically, having his "victory," and everyone else having a ball too: Joan dancing, Bruce Langhorne tapping his tambourine, Fritz Richmond on washtub bass, Peter Yarrow and a whole passell of other folkies. It reminds one of Hajdu's observation that the phrase "Soon there was a party" sums up Richard (see page 134 of Positively 4th Street). If you look very closely, you can also see Richard and Mimi a couple of times during the finale when Pete Seeger leads a singalong of "Down By the Riverside".

There are plenty of other great performances, and some wonderful interviews with the young folk fans (and some very clever transitions between fans' commentary and the performances). It's also remarkable to see how much like Woodstock Newport was, with kids rejecting mainstream society, camping out on the lawns in the early morning with just a blanket, using a tree for a pillow.

--Douglas Cooke


Fritz on washtub; Kyle Garahan on harmonica.

Bruce taps a tambourine while someone holds an umbrella for Mimi.

Eric von Schmidt gets soaked in the crowd.

Happy folk fans wring out their blankets.

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