Rachel Horn

"Folk festival" is a bit of a misnomer for the current form of the event where Bob Dylan shocked crowds by plugging in five decades ago; the Newport Folk Festival now warmly embraces talent that leans toward the louder, more electrified end of the folk-rock spectrum.

I heard more than one person at Newport marvel at the fact that Pinegrove had been booked for the smallest of the festival's three main stages. The day before its Newport set, the Montclair, N.J., band had played the main stage at the Panorama Music Festival, where headliner Frank Ocean would perform later that day. For a band that still practices in one member's parents' basement, Pinegrove has accumulated a huge, enthusiastic fan base over the year since it released its latest studio album, Cardinal.

Folk music is a genre commonly associated with protest, and the performers at Newport this year lived up to that expectation.

When Fleet Foxes took the stage to close out the first day at Newport, it had been eight years since the band's last performance at the festival. In 2009, the band was picking up steam after releasing its critically venerated self-titled debut, "White Winter Hymnal" was still fresh as new snow in our collective consciousness and then-drummer J.

Sunday evening's final set at the Newport Folk Festival is frequently a triumphant, all-star affair — and John Prine's performance this year proved true to form.

For those looking to hear Americana from Oceania, Newport Folk's Quad Stage was the place to be during the second day of the festival. After Australia's Julia Jacklin kicked things off that morning, it was the 26-year-old Kiwi Marlon Williams' turn. Originally from a tiny New Zealand port town, Williams had just begun to write songs when he first heard Gram Parsons' GP and fell in love with country music.

Moments of unexpected magic are the Newport Folk Festival's calling card. The festival typically sells out well before its lineup is even announced — but the official lineup is more of a rough guideline, anyway, since the weekend is peppered every year with surprise performances and collaborations.

"It's the whole reason I'm here right now," said Brent Cobb by way of introducing his song "Down Home" to the Newport Folk Festival audience Friday afternoon.

Though Alynda Segarra grew up in the Bronx, she left New York City behind as a teenager to chase the romantic allure of America's small towns and wide-open spaces. Those travels, plus her infatuation with the classic songwriting of artists like Joni Mitchell and Townes Van Zandt, have informed Segarra's work fronting the Americana project Hurray for the Riff Raff for nearly a decade.

Pages