Writing this post this week is real hard because I feel anything but delightful, so indulge my whining for a few moments until we actually get to some delights. It’s kind of weird to be writing a post about delights while crying, but here we are. If you know me at all, you know that the Newport Folk Festival is my favorite weekend of the entire year. It’s the thing I most look forward to doing and really fills my soul to get me through the next year until we go back and do it all over again. But it was all snatched away from me because of stupid COVID and the fact that I’m a responsible human. For the first time ever we had a friend with us driving up and sharing an AirBnB. Unfortunately, she tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning after only the first day of the festival. So we basically quickly packed up all of our stuff and drove home with N95 masks on and the windows open despite the 100 degree heat. Let me tell you that was a long, hot, unpleasant drive. We could have not cared about spreading it and sent her home on a plane and then gone to the festival ourselves knowing that we could be incubating COVID, but we are not those people so we missed out on two days of the festival. I’m just so annoyed because literally I can count on my fingers and tell you the exact times I have spent time with anyone besides my husband unmasked indoors since COVID started and one of the few times I attempt it, it blows up in my face. I’ve missed out on so much in the last two years while everyone else has just gone back to living their lives, and one of the few times I actually try and let myself live a little despite COVID and it gets destroyed. Saying it’s not fair is a really dumb thing to say, but well it’s not fair and I’m mad at the world right now.
I don’t know what is in store for the festival as I write this on Sunday and it’s probably better for my mental health if I never find out what awesome surprises I miss out during the closing Sunday night show (update: it was Joni Mitchell who hasn’t performed a full live set in decades. I’m devastated to have missed it), but I know a bunch of amazing things that I missed out on Saturday and my heart is already broken. Paul Simon showed up as a surprise set closing the festival on Saturday. When he announced his farewell tour a few years ago, knowing that he had somehow never played Newport, I was so sure he was going to be a surprise guest that year. Then he wasn’t and I figured well that’s it. It’s never going to happen. But it did happen and I missed it. Sob!
So I’m sitting at home instead of the festival today wallowing in self pity and wondering if I’m going to test positive for COVID in the next day or two and hiding away from my husband and wearing a mask in all common rooms lest one of us test positive while the other avoids it somehow. Of course I got a big reminder this morning that this self pity I’m sitting in is pretty mis-placed because there are people I know dealing with much bigger challenges than me missing some live music no matter how much I love it. So I’m sending some prayers up for her and giving myself a reality check. So let’s end this pity party and try and find what good we can.
First up a few delights from earlier in the week pre-festival.
- We record Jeopardy on our DVR and then just watch an episode whenever we have time, thus we are weeks and weeks behind. So in relation to what’s happening on the show currently I don’t know, but two episodes in a row that we watched this past week I got the final Jeopardy answer and none of the contestants did. I always feel super smart when I know it and they all get it wrong and to have it happen two nights in a row made me feel even extra super smart.
- Cicadas. I’m not talking about the crazy overwhelming number of 17 year cicadas that we experienced in Baltimore last year. I’m just talking about your run of the mill cicadas that come out every year during the heat of the summer. We’ve finally hit that part of summer when they’re out, and I love hearing their hum early in the morning on my walk or in the evening. It’s totally the sound of summer to me.
- The Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs podcast is just starting a season where they rank 40 songs to determine the most Lilith Fair song of them all. They switched up their format to exclusively do these ranking seasons, and this is their second one. I miss the original format where they used to just talk about a random song each episode and then do a ranking of songs from a particular album every 10th episode and then in March do a larger ranking tournament on a topic, which is what they are doing all the time now. Even though I’m less into the new format, I still like the podcast and am particularly looking forward to this Lilith Fair season that starts for real on the day I’m posting this. They had one short intro episode to the season last week, but this week’s episode starts the actual rankings.
And now onto a few delights I experienced at the extremely short time I got to be at the Newport Folk Festival this year.
- I made sure to get my lobster roll right away this year. Last year I missed out because the little sandwich shop/ice cream place right by the ferry we take to and from the festival where I used to grab a late dinner from some nights after we got back over on the ferry closed during the pandemic. There’s more like a real restaurant that just opened in that space this year. There was some temporary sandwich place in there last year that didn’t have a lobster roll. I refuse to eat a lobster roll at the actual festival because it seems too dicey to eat something like that in the hot sun. Anyway, this year after we got in on Thursday night, we got dinner from a place that is down the road from where my sister-in-law used to live because I know that they have a lobster roll I enjoy. So I checked that off my list right away.
- Every year we have gone to the festival there has been this other couple that sets up their blanket and chairs in very near proximity to us. In the 10 years we’ve been going, we’ve never actually spoken with them, but I always see them and they have been my secret festival friends in my head all these years and it makes me happy whenever I see them. I spotted them for the first time this year waiting in the merch line where I made a beeline as soon as the gates opened while my husband went and snagged our normal spot. When I got there he told me the empty chairs in front of us were indeed those of our festival friends who apparently saw him setting up and were like oh it’s you. We sit by you every year. So then I chatted with them when they got back and told them they were my secret festival friends and it made me so happy to find out that we were their secret festival friends right back. She told me I’m always dancing with her at the end of the night even if no one else is. I’m sad I won’t be there to dance with her at the end of this festival. I hope they don’t think we ran away and sat somewhere else instead.
- Speaking of merch, I’m very happy that I was smart enough to go ahead and wait in line for merch on Friday as well as make it over to the Newport Festival Foundation membership tent to renew our membership that guarantees us the ability to buy tickets for next year’s festival because it’s real hard to get tickets these days otherwise. I would have been devastated if we didn’t have that guarantee and then failed to get tickets next year. So I’m glad I didn’t put that off thinking I still had two more days to deal with it.
- The festival is held on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park, so there is obviously an old fort there. My friend and I were at the stage that is set up inside the fort watching a set and were sitting up against the fort wall where there was a little bit of shade still. There was a family next to us with two little girls I’m guessing about 6 and 3. The older one came over to us first and gave us little rubber band bracelets that she made. Then her sister came over and gave my friend a sticker. I guess I wasn’t cool enough for a sticker. Then she started telling us all about the ghosts and skeletons that live in the fort, but that we shouldn’t be afraid because if they tried to come out and get us she would kick them for us. It was very adorable. I love that the festival is so family friendly and you see newborn babies to senior citizens.
- We stayed at probably the best AirBnb I’ve ever stayed in. The property itself was great and really well stocked. And she was super awesome when I told her about having to leave early because of COVID. She refunded us a little bit of money right away and then said that if the guests who were supposed to check in after us on Monday said they wanted to come a day early now she would refund even more of our money, which she just did. So in total we got one of the two nights we didn’t stay refunded. Obviously, she was not required to do any of that, so that fact that she did was super awesome and above and beyond since it meant she lost some money on our booking on a prime weekend. There were some other details that I would mention that would let you connect this post to her booking if you went looking, and since she asked me not to mention the refund in my review I’m going to leave it at that here. But I’m definitely planning on rebooking her place for the festival next year.