Another victim of the Virus - THE NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL

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This, my friends, blows....

Dear Newport Jazz Family –

This is the letter I was praying I wouldn’t have to write, feeling we need the healing powers of live music more now than ever. It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Newport Jazz Festival. As devastating as it is to write those words, it’s balanced with a renewed sense of, well, HOPE. It’s Rhode Island’s motto for good reason and it’s also the feeling you, our festival family, constantly exudes when we come together in good times and perhaps more importantly, in difficult times as well. This community is truly unlike any other in music, and I believe we can emerge from this adversity stronger and more connected than ever before.

However, while your safety was at the core of the present decision, your support will be at the core of our future viability. Our ability to produce this festival in 2021 - and continue making a lasting difference in the lives of artists, students and Jazz lovers like yourselves - is in your hands. Quite simply, we need your help.

Due to the financial and institutional uncertainties we find ourselves in, we believe the most trusting and direct course of action is to let the ticket holders decide where their ticket dollars should go. We have sent all ticket holders an email mapping out three options: 1) donate all or a portion of your ticket that will go directly towards ensuring our festival for 2021 while continuing our support for artists and educators; 2) apply your refund towards a 2021 Revival Membership - a new and one-time offer we’ve created specifically to ensure our future and provide these members with 3-day tickets to the 2021 festival at Fort Adams; and 3) receive a 100% full refund if desired.

For those of you who didn’t have tickets for this year, PLEASE consider making a tax-deductible donation ( Help us continue these festivals, support year-round music education initiatives, and provide grants to artists in need.

I want to personally thank our founder George Wein, our staff, our Board of Directors, Christian McBride, the City of Newport and the DEM for their continued efforts. And, offer a personal note of gratitude to Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo for her leadership and counsel in prioritizing our well being in making the decision to cancel the festival.

Although we won’t be able to gather at the Fort this summer, rest assured we have invited ALL the announced artists to join us next year. In the meantime, we promise we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, stay safe. And in the words of George Wein, "don't miss the beat."


Jay Sweet, Executive Director, Newport Festivals Foundation


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NEWPORT, R. I., July 4—The remaining two days of the Newport Jazz Festival were canceled today after thousands of young people last night tore down sev eral 60‐foot lengths of chain link fence surrounding the field, battered their way through a second wooden fence and in vaded Festival Field.


Read both articles, would love to see the news reels. I doubt you'd see anything like what's described these days. Certainly thousands of young people doing anything together en masse sounds like a dream of some weird sort,...aside from maybe a climate protest.


This is the 1960 Muddy Waters footage, according to the title. Doesn't appear that all shit was breaking loose outside. 



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The 1971 riot caused the festival to actually relocate out of Newport for a good while. 1972 saw the beginning of the Newport In New York festivals, which went on for a good while and actually had some memorable moments. It wasn't until 1981 that any kind of jazz festival returned to Newport, RI.

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