Where is…Bob Dylan’s Guitar He Played at The 1965 Newport Folk Festival?

Bob Dylan released his first album in 1962. He was primarily known as a folk artist. Dylan would play with his acoustic guitar and harmonica.

On Saturday, July 24, 1965, Bob Dylan played the Newport Folk Festival and he played an acoustic set that all of his fans wanted. He received great applause… After that, he walked back on stage with a rock band and plugged in his 1964 Fender Stratocaster and all hell broke loose. His folk fans did NOT want him playing an electric guitar with a rock band. He did receive some cheers but they were mixed with a lot of boos. Dylan’s appearance is one of the most iconic performances of rock and roll.

Even after the boos, he was determined to continue down his electric path. It has been known as the time when “Dylan went electric.”

He toured in 1965 and 1966 with “The Hawks” as a backing band. The Hawks changed their name after the 66 tour and became The Band. During those tours, the boos continued throughout but Dylan pressed on. On the British leg of the tour the boos intensified and in one concert a fan of the old Dylan yelled out “Judas!”

Now back to the electric guitar that Bob played at Newport.

Dawn Peterson thought she owned the guitar, her father was a pilot who flew music acts in the 1960s. He said Dylan left this guitar on his plane. Dawn didn’t believe it until she saw a documentary picturing Bob Dylan on that Newport stage playing a guitar that looked just like her dad’s.

Bob Dylan thought he still had this Stratocaster…but in 2012 on the PBS series History Detectives… The experts matched the wood grain on the guitar owned by Dawn from the pictures of the historical event in 1965. The guitar was a match and it was no doubt that Dawn’s guitar was the one. Also in the guitar case were some of Dylan’s lyrics that he was working on in 65.

Lawyers got involved but it was soon settled that Dawn could sell the guitar.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay purchased Dylan’s Newport guitar in 2013 for $965,000 in an auction,  making it the most expensive guitar to ever hit the auction block.

Within the case itself was another hidden gem: early-draft lyrics to three Dylan tunes (“Absolutely Sweet Marie,” “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and two others). Those pieces were estimated between $3,000 and $30,000 by the auction house.

The guitar was on display from November 2018 through November 2019 at the American Writers Museum in Chicago as part of Bob Dylan: Electric – an interactive exhibit curated by music journalist Alan Light chronicling Dylan’s impact on American writing and pop culture following the Newport performance.

Image result for bob dylan's guitar he played at newportImage result for bob dylan's guitar he played at newport

Image result for bob dylan's guitar he played at newport


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Where is…Bob Dylan’s Guitar He Played at The 1965 Newport Folk Festival?”

      1. Well remember…it wasn’t old at the time and the pilot probably hardly ever took it out of the case…it’s possible I guess.


    1. I watched it years ago…I need to again. Those events…sometimes its a wonder how they got off the ground.
      Off-Topic…Oh, I have The Who at Hyde Park…I’m waiting for a non busy time…


      1. That’s great! I hope you get to enjoy it soon. This weekend is definitely non-busy for me. I should be watching and listening to wall-to-wall college basketball, but instead there’s nothing. *sob*

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is me…I should be tuned into spring training but that is NOT going to happen.
        I have been watching the 1970’s World Series and Superbowls lol.


      3. Haha, I’ve rewatched the first (and only) two games of this year’s Big 12 Tournament. I’m nervous about baseball season. Our brand new team and stadium is having to postpone opening day.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hopefully this won’t go on for a long time. Its like life has stopped. We are close to being prisoners in our homes. I’m not saying that is bad…it’s good that they want to contain it.

        It’s like a different world right now. In the grocery store…one cough and it’s like an old EF Hutton commercial…everyone looks around.


      5. Yes to all of that. I’ve got plenty of constructive things to do at home, but the circumstances are surreal. I look back at what we were saying and doing just two and three days ago, and it feels like a lifetime ago.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This was utterly fascinating. That whole Newport event and follow up guitar story deserves it’s own movie or documentary. There’s a lot of controversy about what really went on of course. It’s said a lot of people boo’d because the sound was shite rather than the folk purists getting their bees in the bonnet. I believe Seeger wanted to cut the cable because his ears couldn’t support the terrible sound although the mythological telling of it like what Edward norten told Joe Rogan recently – the people enjoy hearing lol.

    That guitar case also contained those early draft lyrics. Her father is the luckiest bastard in the world. Can you F&/king imagine? What a story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard both stories also. I wish there was film of it. I’m glad Bob persisted to do what he wanted to do. In Britian it got really ugly with people booing. That is one of the reason’s Levon quit and they had to get Mickey Jones as drummer.

      Can you imagine having that guitar and case? Yes he was the luckiest bastard in the world.


      1. Yeh, the world tour especially in England was a different kettle of fish. You have to give it to Bob and the Band for keeping at it and delivering some of the most iconic performances in RocknRoll history. Bootleg 4 is probably my favourite live performance of any music material.

        Yes, the mind boggles how fortunate they were to come into those possessions of Rock history. It would feel almost sacrilege to sell them lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is my favorite live Dylan. It’s so ragged but yet perfect. Mickey Jones did a great job on drums.
        Matt…what I wouldn’t get to play just one chord on the thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting information. It’s crazy to me that Dylan never realized that the guitar was left behind. He must not have been that attached to it. And, Dawn got some BIG bucks. Did Dylan get involved in the lawyering-up? If a musician with Dylan’s stature asked for his long-lost guitar back, I’d have just dealt with him.

    The Hawks became The Band…like as in Leon Helm “The Band”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep The Band…Cripple Creek etc. Levon got tired of the booing and quit at the start of the tour. He eventually came back. They got a drummer for the tour named Mickey Jones…you know him…he was an actor also…always played a biker or a blue-collar guy.
      He was on Home Improvement a lot.

      I don’t think Dylan realized or believed it was the one until the lyrics were found…he then knew. I’m not sure how much Dylan was involved after that. He probably thought…why is she selling this under my name when it’s not mine…but it turned out to be.


      1. I remember Mickey Jones.

        I’m just floored that he left the plane but, forgot to pick up his damn guitar. Dude…WTF did you play at your next concert? Did you not immediately notice you were a guitar short? I would think a guitarist would be like his instrument as he would be about his underwear and/or pants…but, maybe that’s just me. I’m quite sure Levon never accidentally left behind his drums. It’s just a head scratcher.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He was new to electric guitars lol. He really was…professionally anyway. Yea it is odd though. It’s not like he had a lot of roadies if any at that time. I guess he could have thought someone else packed it up.

        Cape Cod Curmudgeon talks about the Band today…interesting how he ties them to Jack Ruby….and they were

        Liked by 1 person

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