Festival impressario George Wein has been given the green light to move forward with his trademark Newport folk and jazz festivals. The Newport City Council approved city permits on April 16 to stage the events at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI. The council vote was a unanimous 5-to-0. Both festivals are being produced by New Festival Productions, LLC.
Both festivals will include two full days of music on three stages at Fort Adams State Park: the folk festival on August 1-2 and jazz festival from August 7-9. Tickets for George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 go on sale on April 23, and tickets for George Wein’s Folk Festival 50 tickets go on sale on May 6.
The folk festival, celebrating its 50th year, will include festival co-founder Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, both of whom performed at the first festival in 1959. Also lined up are Arlo Guthrie, Fleet Foxes, Neko Case, Billy Bragg, The Avett Brothers, Judy Collins, The Decemberists, and Iron & Wine. The complete festival program will be announced later this month.
The jazz festival, celebrating 55 years, will include Tony Bennett, Etta James, Branford Marsalis, Dave Brubeck Quartet. Also booked are Esperanza Spalding, Cedar Walton with Lew Tabackin & Curtis Fuller, Christian McBride Group, Roy Haynes Quintet, and The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, among others.
Wein sold his original company, Festival Productions, to Festival Network in 2007, which ran the events through 2008. Due to financial problems, Festival Network defaulted on its five year license when it was late in paying its share of the proceeds from the festivals to the Department of Environmental Management, which operate the venue, thus nullifying and voiding its contract. The bidding process was open, and Wein learned that the license to produce the festivals at Fort Adams State Park in 2009 was available.