When the Newport Folk Festival decided to give a West coast weekend a go, I got excited. I was clicking "buy" on tickets before I had finished reading the tweet about Way Over Yonder.
Because I love Newport.
I wasn't sure it would be the same. I loved being at the Fort so much last year that I was worried my dreamy expectations would be left unsatisfied. I didn't want that wonderful feeling of musical perfection tarnished.
Good news is, it wasn't.
My dad spent many moments last year hinting at how jealous he was that my sister and I got to go to Newport. When I told him Jackson Browne was headlining, he nearly lost it.
And when I came home and told him I had spent an entire set listening to Joel Rafael while standing next to his musical hero, that was it.
My dad is fairly trusting of my musical tastes and generally thinks I'm a pretty cool adult that is fun to hang out with, so it was only fitting that he be my partner for Way Over Yonder.
We packed up and road tripped it over to the Santa Monica Pier, and spent a couple days listening to great acts like Brett Dennen, Shovels & Rope, Neko Case and First Aid Kit in the ocean air. I fell in love with new folks like the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers and Frank Fairfield.
And I got to practically sit on stage while my very, very favorite folk outfit, Spirit Family Reunion, shook the floor with their talent (I love them so much they'll get their own post...stay tuned!).
And on Sunday afternoon, when we wandered in and found Joel Rafael singing a set to a small, quiet crowd, I looked around, remembering the magic of Newport. My eyes landed on an unassuming guy in a baseball hat and shades, again enjoying his friend's set. I tapped my dad on the shoulder, pointed to my left, and then got to watch as he walked over and shook the hand of his musical hero.
And my dreamy expectations lived on.