Newport Folk 2019 Day Two: Dolly Parton, Judy Collins and Linda Perry Make Surprise Appearances at ♀♀♀♀ Collaboration
Photos by Dean Budnick and Caroline Budnick
After a busy first day, the Newport Folk Festival heated up on Saturday July 27, with sets by Dawes & Friends, Maggie Rogers, Jeff Tweedy and more, as well as surprise appearances by legends like Dolly Parton, Judy Collins and Linda Perry at the headlining ♀♀♀♀ Collaboration.
Indeed, it wouldn’t be Newport Folk without an unexpected sit-in or two, as exemplified by Dawes & Friends star-studded set on the Quad. The band may have opened the show solo with “Take Me Out of the City,” but throughout the 65-minute set, they welcomed Jason Isbell (on “If You Let Me Be Your Anchor”), Yola (on “When You Call My Name”), Hiss Golden Messenger (on “God Rest My Soul”), Preservation Hall Jazz Band (on “My Girl to Me”) and more.
Later, the ♀♀♀♀ Collaboration closed out the day’s festivities and as the festival’s first-ever female-led superjam, it made history before a single note was played.
The set began with a rousing version of “Big Yellow Taxi” – featuring Candy Carpenter, Molly Tuttle and Lake Street Dive’s Bridget Kearney – but before the trio launched into the Joni Mitchell classic, Brandi Carlile stood at the foot of the stage and acknowledged the magnitude of the moment.
“The Newport Folk Festival has had a habit of being on the right side of history for all of its 60 years,” she said to the crowd. “It never wavered on that. In 1963, Newport joined the Civil Rights Movement led by the Freedom Singers for a march through Newport, and made its way to the March on Washington. In 1965, as you all know, Bob Dylan famously plugged in here to a mixed reception. In 1967, Judy Collins curated a set over on the Harbor Stage, where she introduced Joni fucking Mitchell to Leonard Cohen. In 1969, Johnny Cash introduced the world to Kris Kristofferson. We all know these things; this is why we’re here. But today, on its 60th anniversary, Newport Folk Festival is going to have its very first all-female headlining collaboration. It’s time.”
The first surprise in the ♀♀♀♀ Collaboration came when 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry – who was not on the Newport lineup – jammed her hit “What’s Up,” with Carlile and indie singer Lucy Dacus.
Sheryl Crow kept the party going with her own “If It Makes You Happy” (also featuring Carlile and her Highwomen bandmate Maren Morris), and later, famed singer Judy Collins sang alongside Carlile for a stirring version of “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell.
As the set drew to a close, the highlight – of course – was the fourth-quarter appearance by country legend Parton, which elicited riotous applause from the audience. To start, Parton offered a capella version of “Eagle When She Flies,” with The Highwomen (Carlile, Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby).
Then, standing in front of all of the women who performed earlier, Parton sang hits like “Jolene” and “9 to 5” as well as a duet of “I Will Always Love You” with Brandi Carlile, who was visibly honored to be performing alongside the iconic singer. By the end of the song, Carlile and Parton stood arm-in-arm, harmonizing to cheers from the crowd.
“I just love surprises,” Parton wrote afterwards, via Twitter. “You should have seen the look on your faces.”
Newport Folk Festival continues this weekend at
Check out photos from Saturday – as well as a video of Parton and Carlile singing “I Will Always Love You” (via YouTuber Dale Martin) – below: