GEORGE WEIN’S FESTIVALS IN NEWPORT DREW YOUNGER AUDIENCES LISTENING TO ADVENTUROUS MUSIC
NEWPORT, RI, August 19, 2009 Fans, social networks, media, artists and the music industry in general are still buzzing following two of the world’s most important outdoor festivals. George Wein’s Folk Festival 50, which took place August 1 2 at Newport’s Fort Adams State Park, drew more than 17,000 music lovers from around the world. The following weekend, nearly 13,000 fans took over Fort Adams and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino for George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 August 7 9.
"In all of my years producing festivals in Newport and around the world, I have never felt so much love and support as I felt during the celebration of 50 years of folk and 55 years of jazz in Newport," said George Wein. "Unlike the recent statistics reported in the Wall Street Journal article (August 9, 2009) on the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) latest Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, we saw large audiences filled with young people listening to and celebrating jazz in Newport."
At CareFusion Jazz Festival 55 in Newport, Mr. Wein observed:
- Much younger crowds than ever, with the average age of audience members ranging between 20 - 35 years old
- Younger media, including print, broadcast and on-line journalists; reporters who mainly cover rock and roll and pop were there to cover jazz.
- People of all ages are opening their ears to listen to and explore all kinds of music.
- No matter what type of music (from Rudresh Mahanthappa to Steve Bernstein’s Millennial Orchestra to Branford Marsalis to Hiromi to Tony Bennett), the stages were packed.
- Adventurous musicians who are learning how to program their music to appeal to diverse crowds without compromising their artistic integrity
In the Boston Herald (August 9, 2009), the journalist Bob Young wrote, "For the first time in memory, a larger contingent of young listeners comprised that crowd than ever before. Maybe it was the main stage headliner, rapper Mos Def and the Watermelon Syndicate, that drew them. Whatever it was, they were exposed to an impressive range of music."
Mr. Wein added, "While what the NEA says about shrinking audiences in 2008 is true, we saw that attendance was on the rise in 2009, and young listeners are part of that growth. We’re very excited by this and we’re making plans now for next year in Newport and New York. Whether it’s in Los Angeles at the Playboy Jazz Festival or in Monterey, Perugia or other cities around the world, year after year producers continue to program major jazz events.
"We are passing into a new era, which hasn’t defined itself yet. For the first time in years, I feel there’s a future for jazz with the general public and I believe this excitement will go on for a very long time," said Mr. Wein.
For more information on George Wein’s music festivals, please visit jazzfestival55.com, folkfestival50.com and newfestivalproductions.com.
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