Thousands are expected to flock to the ninth annual Newport Folk Festival this weekend.

Festival director Michael Stewart, founder of the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club, says the three-day festival will feature everything from poetry to theatre to classical music.

“Come and Play is our theme, so there’s opportunities for people to come and play, and make bread and dance,” he said.

“We’ve got some line dancers coming down from the hills, in fact from Mount Evelyn, and they’re going to be dancing in the street.”

The festival is from July 1-3 at various locations in and around Newport, including Market Street, which will be closed to traffic for two days.

It kicks off with a welcome concert and open session with the Newport Bush Orchestra at 1.30pm on July 1 at Newport Bowls Club.

The feature concert, Folk to Classical, will showcase about 70 performers from 8pm on July 2 at Williamstown Mechanics Institute.

Festival guests include Appalachian Heaven (US folk), Ultrafox, The Harmaniax, Lily and King, The Timbers, The Tall Boys, Paisley and Plaid, The Ukulele Dolls, Belle Stewart, The Cats Pyjamas and The Peeks.

The Peeks’ frontman, Williamstown’s Fraser Henry, says the band’s debut album will be released on July 22.

Its first single, Don’t Tell Your Mama, was filmed at Newport Lakes. “I grew up on Gem Pier mussels, Hot Wings’ chicken and chips, cold nights at the Fearon and explorations across the Jawbone’s mangrove-lined shores,” Henry said.

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