Catch The Vibe
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Catch The Vibe

The Vibe — July 25, 2022

Bob plugs in, people freak out, and a robot broke my finger.

Today, but not today

Some booed. Some cheered. Some were confused, and everyone was different after the performance.

If you were in New England in the 1950’s looking for jazz, George Wein was your guy. After serving in World War II and graduating from Boston University, he opened a Jazz nightclub called Storyville, and a few years later founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954.

As folk music was emerging throughout the 1950’s, George would occasionally invite a folk artist to play Storyville on the weekend. After seeing early success at his Jazz Festival and the growth of folk, George had another idea. He enlisted the help of folk singer Pete Seeger and manager Albert Grossman, and the three created the Newport Folk Festival. It opened in 1959. That first festival quietly debuted an 18-year old Joan Baez as a guest performer.

But the booing came years later for Bob Dylan who played his set using the help of electric amplifiers, thus breaking a cardinal sin of folk music. On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan plugged in his guitar at the Newport Folk Festival and seemingly shifted the genre forever.

The crowd booed hard, there was confusion and a little chaos backstage, and Pete Seeger was sitting in his car with his hands over his ears. George walked up to Dylan as soon as he finished and asked Bob to go back out and do at least one acoustic song. Dylan replied that he hadn’t got an acoustic guitar. George reminded him they were at a folk festival, and Bob borrowed an ax from one of the fifty lying around and played an acoustic rendition of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”.

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Bud Copeland

Bud Copeland

I know what I know, and I know what I don’t. I think.