Last weekend marked the 53rd Annual Newport Folk Festival and the unofficial 100th birthday party for . Newport for me is like and I’m not referring to that other music festival in Chillicothe, IL. I mean those memories of campfire sing-alongs familiar faces and laying out on the grass without a care in the world. has always been able to balance the relaxing and beautiful environment of the dynamic, electric and fearless voices of folks greatest musicians. And Saturday brought a ton of favorite moments for me personally…

Best : My Morning Jacket featuring Alabama Shake’s Brittany Howard singing The Bands “It Makes No Difference”

The moment said “this one’s for Levon,” you knew something special was going to happen. Levon Helm has clearly played an influential role in the development of the and to see and honor his memory in a way was absolutely perfect.

Photo by

Busiest Man At : Ben Sollee

I don’t think anyone truly knows how many sets sat in on, even Newport Folk themselves commented on their @bensollee without question Ben, you win the award for most sets played. we love you”. He made it very clear that he loves Newport and the artists that were billed to perform were his family. He had notable appearances fellow Kentucky natives My Morning Jacket, sat in with up and comers Apache Relay, played a solo set, along with jamming out with Preservation Hall. Mind you this is only part of his for Saturday!

Ben Solle with Sarah Watkins and Jim James during Photo by

Best House Party Band: Deer Tick

I was hesitant in going to Deer Ticks early afternoon set, especially knowing that they had a tiring of doing three late night after-parties just miles down the road. But considering the fact that I would be missing those after parties I made my way to the Quad stage. did not disappoint; they were loud and had the crowd up on their feet from the first note. At one point they brought out Delta Spirits‘ own Matt Vasquez to hang out and dance onstage. The set was sloppy but also charming in that way that made me feel like I was in someone’s jamming out to a while having spray around me.

Photo by Eric Tsurumoto

Best Voice of The Day: of Alabama Shakes

took the main stage midway through the day, by the time Brittany Howard started the opening lyrics of her second song “Hold On” the crowd was hooked. Their blend of Janis Joplin 1960’s vocals and catchy guitar riffs makes Howards’ sound simplistic yet timeless, fully encompassing the power a single voice could have on an eager crowd.

Photo by Eric Tsurumoto

Saturday ended on a sour note though, shortly after performed with Brittany Howard. Jim James called on the god of rain and thunder (metaphorically speaking of course) and summoned a torrential downpour. Not only did this cause My Morning Jacket to end their set early but also it caused major flooding on many roads, leaving a great portion of the attendees stranded and wet.

I have never felt like a artist or even a photographer, I feel more like a person who sees the need to photograph his life. Still Frames can be uniting forces of emotion, and I feel music photography can be almost a bigger voice than the actual arist. My love of music and a DSLR has brought me to some pretty amazing places. In my first year alone I found myself hanging out in a tent next to the Avett brothers, shaking hands with Chromeo and having Win Butlers sweat fly into my eyes while he belts out the opening lyrics to Wake up. But my true goal is not to have a almost famous moment, but to capture what I see in these artists hoping that future viewers can be inspired to listen and fall in love with the artist the same way as I did.