[JPL] Wein’s jazz festivals get infusion of cash

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Jul 8 21:52:38 EDT 2009

Wein’s jazz festivals get infusion of cash
By Jed Gottlieb  / Music  |   Wednesday, July 8, 2009  |  
http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Music News

At 83, George Wein hoped the future of his Newport folk and jazz 
festivals would have been set. But the founder of the annual Newport 
events and the New York jazz festival has been working harder then ever 
to keep the events alive.

Yesterday at a New York press conference, Wein announced that he’d 
received a lifeline from CareFusion, a planned spinoff of Cardinal 
Health’s clinical and medical products businesses. The company outlined 
an expansive sponsorship deal for what will be called the CareFusion 
Jazz Festival Series; the kickoff event will be George Wein’s CareFusion 
Jazz Festival 55 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. The company will 
also help Wein revive the New York jazz festival next June, and it will 
sponsor jazz fests in Chicago, Monterey, Calif., Paris and Australia.

“This is a great boost for jazz,” Wein told the Herald by phone before 
the press conference. “JazzTimes magazine is going under. No one can 
find sponsors for festivals. The arts are in trouble. And then 
CareFusion walked in the door. It’s more than a light at the end of the 
tunnel. We are out of the tunnel.”

In 2008, Wein sold rights to his festival business to Festival Network, 
which lost its right to the annual Fort Adams State Park events when it 
failed to pay outstanding bills. With the festivals in limbo, Wein 
stepped out of retirement to keep the institutions alive.

“I didn’t make a decision to put these on until December, and we still 
managed to create two amazing lineups,” the Newton native said.

George Wein’s Folk Festival 50, featuring Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Arlo 
Guthrie, Judy Collins, the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Neko Case, Iron & 
Wine and more, takes place July 31-Aug. 2. Wein is still seeking a 
sponsor for the event. George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55, 
featuring Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Etta James, Branford Marsalis, the 
Bad Plus,Joshua Redman and others, runs Aug. 7-9. The numbers 50 and 55 
refer to the age of each event.

While the festivals he created are safe for now, Wein still dreams of 
transitioning the events to nonprofit status.

“I think of it every day, but I need a lot of help and I don’t know 
where that help is going to coming from,” he said. “I still hope to do 
it in a few years, but first I have to get (the Newport festivals) on 
solid ground again.

“These things can work without sponsors as nonprofits,” he added. “The 
folk fest is breaking all attendance records, and I think it will be a 
huge success this year. I’m very excited about it.”

Video of a young Wein:

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