On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival, just as he had …

Posted from the web by on July 25, 2018


On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival, just as he had the two previous years. But this time he was was booed.

Dylan went onstage with backing from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It was the first time he played ‘electric’. It is usually said that the reason for the hostile reception by a small number of fans was Dylan’s “abandoning of the folk orthodoxy, or poor sound quality on the night (or a combination of the two). The controversy regarding the reaction of the audience at this event is often overplayed, as it was not the general reaction of the audience, but rather that of a small number of folk “purists”, and of the organizers themselves, including Pete Seeger. The reaction of “the crowd” to Dylan’s performance, certainly from eyewitness accounts, was generally quite enthusiastic. This performance, Dylan’s first live “plugged-in” set of his professional career, marked the shift in his artistic direction from folk to rock, and had wider implications for both genres. They only played 3 songs before walking off stage. Peter, Paul and Mary convinced Dylan to go back on stage, which he did, but this time playing acoustic. It turns out Dylan and the band had only rehearsed 3 songs, and had nothing left to play.

Some people have said that the entire audience turned on him, but it really was only a few. But they made their point, 53 years ago today.

Does it make any difference to you if Bob plays electric or acoustic?




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