With news that Festival Network was struggling, two of its core festivals – the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, CA (June 13-14) and the Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga, NY (June 27-28) – will both move ahead as planned but not with Festival Network’s involvement.
The Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at Saratoga will be helmed by Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment LLC, who is the exclusive artistic director and co-producer with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC).
“The contract with George Wein/Festival Productions expired at the end of last year’s festival, and SPAC and I signed a new one in the fall,” Melnick told TicketNews. He was artistic director and senior producer of Festival Productions (which sold its company to Festival Network in 2007) from 1990-96 and 1998-2007, and he also booked the Saratoga festival from 1999-2008, the last year as an independent booker with Festival.
The Playboy Jazz Festival has always been owned by Playboy Enterprises, which hired Darlene Chan for its entire 31 years. Chan was with Festival Productions from 1968-2007 when she started working with Festival Network.
“I was terminated along with others on December 5, 2008, and then continued working my accounts that I had always worked on,” Chan told TicketNews. She is also the producer and talent buyer for the Playboy Jazz Festival.