Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. was created in late 2010 by George Wein who realized that the best chance of having the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival continue after his passing, was to start a 501 (C) (3) non-profit corporation. Since the early 1960’s Mr. Wein ran a successful for profit business with his company, Festival Productions, Inc. but having gone through good and bad economies with ticket sales and long term sponsorships, he understood that the key to the future of his festival “children” lay in getting grants and donations from interested foundations and from the many fans of these events. What people might not know was that these festivals originally started as non-profits.
From 1954-1960, the Newport Jazz Festival was produced by the non-profit Newport Jazz Festival Board, with Louis Lorillard as its president. The Board also produced the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and 1960. George Wein is pleased to return the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival to their roots as non-profit events, ensuring that the Festivals will be a part of Newport’s and the world’s, musical history inperpetuity. Both festivals are produced under the umbrella of Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. by George Wein and his veteran staff.
Since its inception, Newport Festivals Foundation has also begun to produce educational events for young people and families. The Foundation, in association with Salve Regina University in Newport, RI has hosted an annual jazz workshop for high school students (free of charge) with leading jazz educators (Anat Cohen, Jon Faddis, Mike Renzi, Alan Bernstein and others) and recently instituted a family concert at Fort Adams State Park to introduce children (and their parents) to the music of these two great festivals. Newport Festivals Foundation has also presented the All-State Jazz Bands from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to open the Newport Jazz Festival, which gives young people an experience of a lifetime to perform on this international stage.
Photo: 2009 Newport Folk Festival, © Doug Mason