The Famed Newport Jazz & Folk Festivals Go Non-Profit

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Famed Newport Jazz & Folk Festivals Go Non-Profit


 

NEWPORT, RI, January 25, 2011
The famed Newport Jazz Festival® and Newport Folk Festival ®, held in
Newport, RI, since 1954 and 1959 respectively, have returned to their
original roots as non-profit events. The Festivals will now be produced
under the umbrella of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc., a newly-formed
501(c)(3) organization. They will still be produced by George Wein and
his veteran staff. 

 

 “The
Foundation will perpetuate the history of jazz and folk music in
Newport and will allow these festivals, which have been my passion and
life’s work, to live on,” said Wein, Jazz Impresario and NEA Jazz
Master.  “Little did we know that when Louis and Elaine
Lorillard asked me to present a summer jazz event in Newport it would
spawn two annual festivals that would capture the hearts of world-wide
music fans for more than six decades.”

 

To
celebrate the formation of Newport Festivals Foundation, a Gala
fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, August 4, at Rosecliff mansion on
historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport.  Hosted by Bill Cosby,
the Gala will feature stars from the Jazz and Folk Festivals. Honorary
Co-Chairs for the event are The Honorable Lincoln Chafee, Governor of
Rhode Island, and The Honorable Jack Reed, US Senator. More information will be announced at a later date.

 

Under the Newport Festivals Foundation, each festival will continue the tradition of
featuring some of the world’s greatest established and emerging
performers. The Newport Jazz Festival will present musicians who follow
the traditions of New Orleans, swing, bebop and modal as the heart of
jazz music. In addition, the Foundation will honor the evolving cultural
expression and freedom of creativity necessary to the growth and
continuing vitality of the music.

 

The
Foundation will continue the Newport Folk Festival by maintaining the
excellence of folk artists in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Joan Baez,
Bob Dylan and others, in addition to presenting performers who respect
and honor these folk music traditions while reflecting the changes in
today’s music trends.

 

Through
the establishment of partnerships with local elementary schools and
colleges/universities, the Foundation will develop programs to help
educate young people, primarily from Rhode Island and New England, as
well as from around the globe, about jazz and folk music as presented at
the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival.

 

Wein has formed a Board of Directors to advise and support the Newport Festivals Foundation.  Board members include: Richard M. Cashin, Managing Director, One Equity Partners; Jerome A. Chazen, Chairman, Chazen Capital; Joshua Feigenbaum, Media Entrepreneur; Bruce S. Gordon, former President and CEO, NAACP and retired Verizon Executive; Elliot L. Hoffman, Founding Senior Partner, Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP; Vikas Kapoor, President and CEO of iQor; William M. Lewis, Jr., Managing Director and Co-chairman of Investment Banking, Lazard Ltd; Deborah Ross, Chief Administrative Officer and Acting Executive Director of the Foundation; Bruce Trauner, Partner, Beldock Levine & Hoffman, LLP; William M. Vareika, Owner, William Vareika Fine Arts; and George Wein.

 

The
Newport Jazz Festival has been the beacon of jazz for 57 years. It is
the scene of Miles Davis’ resurgences in 1955 and again in 1984 and Duke
Ellington’s historical 1956 comeback. Over the years, every major jazz
artist has performed at the festival, including Thelonious Monk, Dizzy
Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Louis
Armstrong and Billie Holiday as well as contemporary artists including
Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis and Diana Krall.

 

From
its inaugural event in 1959 when Bob Gibson first introduced Joan Baez
to the world, the Newport Folk Festival has created excitement. A few
years later, Baez brought Bob Dylan to the festival, and the circle of
innovation continued in 1965 when Dylan and the Paul Butterfield Blues
Band went electric on the Newport stage. Decades later, The Pixies made a
reverse statement and performed an acoustic set, continuing the
tradition of introducing new music and musicians.  In
addition, Peter, Paul & Mary, James Taylor, Joanie Mitchell and
numerous renowned musicians have put their stamp on the Newport Folk
Festival.

 

The
2011 Newport Folk Festival is set for July 29 – 31 and the Newport Jazz
Festival takes over the following weekend, August 5 – 7. Both events
will take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport
Casino and Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. Artists and ticket
on-sale dates for both festivals will be announced in the Spring.

 

For more information, log on to www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.  Visit www.newportfolkfest.net and www.newportjazzfest.net for information on the festivals.

 

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival. For more information, contact Melanie Nañez at sponsor@newfestivalproductions.com.

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