Kermit the Frog Surprises 2019 Newport Folk Festival, Sings ‘Rainbow Connection’ [WATCH]
Of the various guest appearances and newsworthy team-ups at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival, held July 26-28 in Rhode Island, none was as sublime as Sunday’s (July 28) unadvertised pairing of My Morning Jacket singer Jim James and Kermit the Frog. Both the festival and The Muppet Movie are celebrating major anniversaries this year.
The Newport Folk Festival celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019, while The Muppet Movie turns 40 this year. To commemorate the film's signature song, Hollywood’s most famous banjo picker — no offense, Steve Martin — surprised the festival crowd with a rendition of “Rainbow Connection.” As the song hit its stride, as readers can watch above, Kermit introduced James as his duet partner. What followed qualifies as sweet and gorgeous moreso than surreal and downright weird.
"Rainbow Connection" remains a career benchmark for Paul Williams, the mind behind everything from the Carpenters’ best-known material to Diamond Rio’s 1998 hit “You’re Gone.” Moviegoers from the late ‘70s might also remember Williams as Little Enos Burdette from the Smokey and the Bandit series.
Punk and indie rock fans may recognize Animal’s replacement on drums for Kermit's 2019 Newport Folk Festival performance, Janet Weiss. She recently left her longtime band, Sleater-Kinney, due to the trio’s current creative direction.
He’s no Cookie Monster, but Kermit holds down a solid social media presence. He used that platform on Sunday to share his heart-meltingly whimsical view from the stage.
The 2019 Newport Folk Festival made headlines thanks to its multiple once-in-a-lifetime sets. On Friday (July 26), country / Americana supergroup the Highwomen made their official live debut, while on Saturday (July 27), country icon Dolly Parton surprised the crowd during an all-women collaborative set curated by Brandi Carlile.
2019 Newport Folk Festival: See More From the Big Event