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2022 Newport Folk Festival Day 3: Joni Mitchell appears for historic set

In Saturday’s Newport Folk recap, I wondered how the Festival could outdo itself after welcoming music legend Paul Simon to the Fort Adams stage. There were rumors of a “big name” coming on the third day of the 2022 festival, but there are always rumors at Newport that fail to develop, so most festival-goers were eagerly looking forward to announced acts like Brandi Carlile, The Roots, and Japanese Breakfast.

Well, the impossible happened – Joni Mitchell returned to Newport. Mitchell had last played the celebrated festival in 1969, and given her recent health challenges, most folks assumed she would likely never return.

But with the encouragement of friends like Grammy Award-winner Brandi Carlile, Mitchell made the trip from California to Newport surprising the audience on Sunday. It was one of the most inspiring moments ever at Newport, or for that matter, at any music festival.

For her set, Joni was surrounded by friends in a living room setting with chairs and sofas onstage arranged to mimic Mitchell’s home in Laurel Canyon where she occasionally hosts “Joni Jams” with fellow musicians. Brandi Carlile organized the all-star backing band, which included Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith, Wynona, Blake Mills, Lucius, and members of Carlile’s band among others.

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