NEWPORT, RI (CelebrityAccess) — Both the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals have joined the ever growing ranks of music events that have been canceled due to coronavirus.
Newport Festivals Foundation Executive Director Jay Sweet announced the cancellation in a letter posted to both festival’s websites.
“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 Folk 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 hardship stronger and more connected than ever before,” Sweet wrote.
Sweet also sounded the alarm about the fest’s financial situation, noting that the organization faced “financial and institutional uncertainties” that may affect their ability to produce the festival in 2021.
He asked that ticketholders consider three options, including donating a portion or all of their 2020 ticket price to ensuring the festivals return in 2021, or applying their 2020 refund towards a 2021 Revival Membership which Sweet says will help support the festival’s return for 2021 and will include a 3-day pass for next year.
Ticketholders may also receive a full refund for their ticket purchase.
Sweet went on to thank the festivals’ board of directors, founder George Wein and state and local officials for their support and offered a particular note of thanks for Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo who he singled out for her leadership.
“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. As always, we have some secret surprises in store as well, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, stay strong and folk on,” he concluded.
The two festivals are some of the longest-running music festivals in North America. The Newport Jazz Festival was launched in 1956 and its sister festival, Newport Folk Festival debuted in 1954. Both events took a hiatus of sorts, with the Newport Jazz Festival relocating to New York for several years during the 1970s and Newport Folk taking a 16-year hiatus between 1969 and 1985.
The lineups for 2020 included The National, Randy Newman, Drive By Truckers, Grace Potter, Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff, Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Angélique Kidjo’s Remain In Light, Robert Glasper, and numerous others.