[Dixielandjazz] Founder Of Newport Jazz Festival Puts His Production Company Up For Sale
mike at railroadstjazzwest.com
Sat Jan 27 22:30:04 PST 2007
Impresario George Wein, who brought jazz out of smoke-filled
nightclubs to mass audiences by founding the much-imitated
Newport Jazz Festival more than 50 years ago, says he has sold
his production company, which puts on music festivals from New
York to Tokyo and Paris. Wein has also partnered with Saratoga
Performing Arts Center since 1978 to produce SPAC's annual jazz
"I'm concerned with preserving my legacy and, at my age, I'm
still working as hard as ever, but it was more difficult to find
the funding necessary to guarantee the future of everything
we're doing," Wein, 81, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Wein said he had sold his company, Festival Productions Inc., to
The Festival Network LLC, a new New York-based entertainment
production company. The price was "in the millions," he said.
Wein said he became concerned about the future of his company
and its festivals as he grew older. Joyce Wein, his wife of 46
years, died in 2005.
He said he had been approached several times during the past
decade about selling his company.
The new owners assure him that the sale won't cause any major
changes in the near future in the sponsorship or programming of
the 13 to 15 major festivals his company produces annually, he
said, including the JVC Jazz Festival in New York and the
Newport jazz and folk festivals.
Marcia White, president and executive director of SPAC, said she
believes SPAC will not be affected by the sale, and that the
amphitheater will continue to work on future jazz festivals with
Festival Productions under its new ownership. A company
representative will be at SPAC on Wednesday, Jan. 31, when the
venue announces details of its 2007 season, including the jazz
festival lineup, White said.
The deal does not cover the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
Festival, which Wein also founded and runs through a separate
"I think it is the beginning of a new chapter; I don't feel it
is the end of anything," said Wein, who will stay on as chairman
of the new company's Festival Productions division.
Chris Shields, the 36-year-old CEO of The Festival Network, said
that he approached Wein about a sale and merger last spring and
that the deal was finalized this month.
Founder of Newport Jazz Festuival
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