How Bob Dylan’s infamous Newport Folk Festival Fender Stratocaster ended up in the back of a woman’s attic – and why its discovery was so controversial

Bob Dylan and his 1964 Fender Strat
(Image credit: Alice Ochs/Michael Ochs Archives / Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan needed just three songs to produce one of the most infamous sets in guitar music history, treating the Newport Folk Festival crowd to something most folk fans saw as straight-up heresy: an electric guitar-heavy performance, supported by a backing band.

Touted as one of the greatest live guitar moments ever, the set was Dylan’s first-ever performance from the fretboard of an electric guitar, and was met with fierce backlash from loyal folk fans who had just witnessed their hero commit the ultimate sin.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer,

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.