Dylan's topical songs enhanced his early reputation, and he came to be seen as more than just a songwriter. Janet Maslin wrote of Freewheelin ' : "These were the songs that established [Dylan] as the voice of his generation—someone who implicitly understood how concerned young Americans felt about nuclear disarmament and the growing Civil Rights Movement : his mixture of moral authority and nonconformity was perhaps the most timely of his attributes."  [a 3] Freewheelin ' also included love songs and surreal talking blues. Humor was an important part of Dylan's persona,  and the range of material on the album impressed listeners, including the Beatles . George Harrison said of the album, "We just played it, just wore it out. The content of the song lyrics and just the attitude—it was incredibly original and wonderful." 
Before Woodstock and Monterey Pop, there was Festival. From 1963 through 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staple Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock and roll. Shooting in gorgeous black and white, Lerner juxtaposes performances with snapshot interviews with artists and their fans, weaving footage from four years of the festival into an intimate record of a pivotal time in music—and in American culture at large.