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Newport Folk Festival 50th Anniversary Pays Tribute to Bob Dylan and Seeger '65

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Jul 29, 2015 10:02 PM EDT

At this year's Newport Folk Festival, musicians gathered on stage to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Of the legends that stood before them, a most resounding tribute was paid to none other than Mr. Bob Dylan and the moment he changed the course of the festival's — and music's — history forever.

Taylor Goldsmith opened the Dylan tribute at Fort Adams State Park by saying, "This guitar that I'm holding has been on this stage before." Of course he was talking about the Fender Strat owned by Mr. Dylan, the one he strummed violently during the iconic performance of "Maggie's Farm" and which also sold in an auction two years ago for a near million dollars.

Having been booed by some, heralded by others and igniting such a rage in the docile Pete Seeger that he threatened to "cut the mic cable," Dylan's anthem about abandoning the orthodoxy of folky culture and music yielded one of the most important performances of the 20th century.

When Dylan took to the stage in '65 to play his new tunes, which also included "Like a Rolling Stone" and a somber retelling of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," the breadth of his career would come into question. Abandoning his roots, some would claim, it was like musical heresy in the eyes of the folk community.

Such a performance would ripple throughout his career, following him on his world tours in '65 and '66, bringing some audience members a insufferable rage while others clearly saw that the former Voice of a Generation was changing with the times.

But this kind of audacity to break through to the other side (in a musical sense) changed the festival's output forever. Just as Dylan turned listeners away from the quality of the voice and directed them to the lyrics, the festival's timeline would be forever changed as would music history.

Now, performers like Hozier don an electric guitar, strumming tunes about crucifying thyself at the "shrine of [one's] life" while others, like Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith, are able to bring a plethora of musicians to the stage, backed by a full drum kit and electric instruments.

Having jolted the music community forever, last Sunday proved to be a tribute to what began a musical revolution, to an artist who "plugged in a generation."

And like he's been intro'ed before, we present a that performance below. You know him, he's yours, Mr. Bob Dylan.

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TagsBob Dylan, Newport Folk Festival, Taylor Goldsmith, Dawes