LONGTIME PROVIDENCE JOURNAL WRITER RICK MASSIMO PRESENTS MANY NEW INTERVIEWS, INCLUDING PETE SEEGER, GEORGE WEIN, JIM JAMES, JAY SWEET, JEFF TWEEDY, ETC.
On June 6, 2017, Wesleyan University Press will publish I Got A Song: A History of The Newport Folk Festival, by Rick Massimo. Eight years in the making, the first-ever book exclusively devoted to the history of the Newport Folk Festival, I Got a Song documents the trajectory of an American musical cornerstone over its 58 years.
Rick Massimo’s historical research is complemented by extensive new interviews with the people who were there and who made it all happen, including festival producers George Wein, Bob Jones and Jay Sweet; artists such as Pete Seeger, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary), Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists) and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and audience members from every era. Massimo presents an oral history of Bob Dylan’s famous electric performance in 1965 as well as its 50th-anniversary celebration in 2015.
Massimo says, “I was fascinated by how it endured and how it had changed, as well as the controversy over what folk music really was. I wanted to write a book that tells a story and isn’t just padded with facts.”
He collected a lot of stories in the process. “Everyone was very willing to talk about Newport; I was particularly impressed with Jim James’ breadth and depth of knowledge of what Newport is about. He is much more clued into the history of Newport than people think. And so many of the modern acts see themselves as descendants of old performers.”
Massimo also spent hours talking with current producer Jay Sweet, who has wrought more changes at Newport than anyone since the early days of the festival, but has done so from a background well versed in the history: “The first thing he did when he came on board was to read the [board members’ early 1960s] manifesto.”
Massimo, a native of Providence, RI, and a longtime Providence Journal writer, covered the Folk Fest for nine years and wrote extensively on arts, media and beyond.He has won awards from the Rhode Island Press Association and the New England Associated Press News Editors.
Newport Folk Festival sells out every year with Saturday and Sunday tickets gone in two hours for 2017. In recent years, it has reached a peak of cultural relevance with a nationwide media, industry, and fan spotlight.
Paper, $24.95 [T]
Ebook, $19.99 Y
Wesleyan University Press has an editorial program that focuses on poetry, music, dance, science fiction studies, film-TV, and Connecticut history and culture.
Publishing in its current form since 1957, Wesleyan University Press has published an internationally renowned poetry series, collecting five Pulitzer Prizes, a Bollingen, and two National Book Awards in that one series alone.
The mission of Wesleyan University Press is to develop and maintain a sound and vigorous publishing program that serves the academic ends and intellectual life of the University.