Newport Jazz & Folk Festivals go non-profit

, Staff

Organizers for the famed Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, held in Newport, Rhode Island since 1954 and 1959 respectively, have announced that they will return 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. Both festivals will still be produced by George Wein and his veteran staff. The move is an effort to preserve the legacy of the iconic festivals which have struggled to find major corporate sponsorships in recent years.

“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, the festivals co-founder.  “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.”

Under the Newport Festivals Foundation, each festival will continue the tradition of featuring some of the world’s greatest established and emerging performers. Beyond the festival, the foundation plans to establish partnerships with local elementary schools and colleges to develop programs to help educate young people, primarily from Rhode Island and New England, about jazz and folk music. Wein has formed a Board of Directors to advise and support the Newport Festivals Foundation.

The 2011 Newport Folk Festival will take place July 29 to 31, while the Newport Jazz Festival is scheduled for the following weekend, August 5 to 7. Both events will take place start with an opening concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Casino on Friday night and continue with daylong performances at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Artists and ticket on-sale dates for both festivals will be announced in the spring.

For more information on the Newport Festivals Foundation, please visit their official website.

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