Gibson partners with the Newport Festivals Foundation to honor Sister Rosetta Tharpe on the 55th anniversary of her legendary performance at the Newport Folk Festival

Gibson, the iconic American instrument brand, has partnered with the Newport Festivals Foundation through its philanthropic arm Gibson Gives at this summer’s Newport Folk Festival to celebrate music icon Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the 55e anniversary of her groundbreaking performance at the Newport Folk Festival on July 16, 1967. This Sunday, July 24 at 12:40 p.m. on the Newport Folk Festival Foundation Stage, a special performance will feature acclaimed singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Celisse performing classic Sister Rosetta Tharpe songs like “Didn’t It Rain,” plus a special performance of SRT’s “Up Above My Head” alongside the young players of RIOT RI, a local nonprofit that promotes the development of healthy identities in girls, women, trans, and gender-specific youth and adults, through the power of music. Gibson will donate six of the soon-to-be-released new Epiphone Power Players guitars to the RIOT RI Foundation.

“Sister Rosetta Tharpe is one of the most important and influential figures in music as the creator of rock and roll music,” says Celisse. “Celebrating the 55th anniversary of its debut at Newport Folk Fest, in conjunction with RIOT RI, further affirms one of the most important tenets of Newport’s mission, a commitment to honoring and remembering the true founders and innovators of American music. I am incredibly proud to be one of the many artists who stand on Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s shoulders and hope that by continuing to name and celebrate her incredible contributions to popular music, it will inspire more people to believe that good music can come from anyone.

Celisse. Photo credit: Austin Nelson.

Founded in 2011, the mission of the Newport Festivals Foundation is to preserve Newport’s jazz and folk festivals and expand their impact through year-round music education and artist support initiatives. . Festivals have always strived to present artists who respect and honor tradition of jazz and folk music, while reflecting the changing trends and times in which they live. As the first modern music festivals in the United Statesthey continue, to this day, to be leaders and innovators in the festival landscape.

The sold-out 2022 edition Newport Folk Festival will take place this week at Fort Adams State Park on Friday July 22, Saturday July 23, and Sunday July 24. The festival will celebrate its 61st year with a wide range, of singer-songwriters, indie and soul artists and folk rock bands, including Brandi Carlile & Friends, Bleachers, Courtney Barnett, Maren Morris, Trampled By Turtles, Dinosaur Jr, The National, The Roots, Nathaniel Rateliff and night sweats, Valérie June, Celisse, Sierra Ferrell, Adia Victoria, Joy Oladokun, Japanese breakfast, and much more.

The Gibson and Newport Festivals Foundation partnership and Sister Rosetta Tharpe celebration follows the recent announcement of Gibson Annual Scholarship Program. Gibson announced that he award 15+ music scholarships in 2022 consisting of both cash grants ($75,000), as well as instruments and equipment directly to high school students as they prepare to navigate their higher education and careers.

The Gibson offers a scholarship program launched with the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarship–the first-ever music scholarship created in honor of the iconic and incomparable Godmother of Rock’n’Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The Sister Rosetta Tharpe Scholarshipcreated with the support of Philadelphia School District Fundwas awarded to Sierra Guilmartinan elderly person to Philadelphia Girls’ High School who will continue the music Philadelphia University of the Arts in autumn.

At Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s immense talent and confidence came at a time when women, and especially women of color, had no voice. A time when no woman has dared to play the guitar on the front of the stageeven less in front of a solo act. No woman except Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Watch and share “Shout, my sister, shout! Sister Rosetta Tharpe”, Gibson’s tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpewith Celis–who was also creative director of TRS campaign–and Kiah amythystwhich takes viewers on a journey of At Sister Rosette’s monumental impact on music:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Getty Images.

A bold performer from Cotton Plant, Arkansas who became a gospel star, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is an artist who rarely comes up in debates about the real founding father of rock ‘n’ roll. TRS fronted her own band, she was one of the first notable artists to play the iconic ’61 Custom Les Paul SG electric guitar, she was a black artist in the lead who toured through the segregated Jim Crow South, and she was largely overlooked as a seminal figure in the creation of rock music. Turns out the founding father of rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t a father at all – that distinction belongs to Sister Rosetta. A gospel-trained force of nature who has shattered barriers, stereotypes and norms with stunning consistency, his electrifying music predates the work of like-minded guitar legends including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Elvis. Sister Rosetta Tharpe unequivocally remains the classic definition of an iconoclast – The godmother of rock’n’roll.

Highlight and celebrate the musical and cultural influence of the emblematic Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Gibson is proud to be associated with Sister Rosetta Tharpe family and Oxford pennant with a limited edition Sister Rosetta Tharpe collection of lifestyle clothing and accessories, available on site at Newport Folk Festival and via

The world’s leading brand of guitars, Gibson continues to shape the sounds of generations of musicians around the world. Gibson supports the global music community through its philanthropic arm, Gibson Gives. The mission of Gibson gives is to create, grow, and support nonprofit organizations worldwide in their efforts to advance musicians, youth-focused education, music, and health and wellness initiatives. 100% of donations to Gibson gives go towards the gift of music.

Above: The Sister Rosetta Tharpe jacket shown with the 60th Anniversary 1961 Les Paul SG Custom With Sideways Vibrola in Polaris White

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