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Confusion Reigns For Summer Jazz Fests

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Two major Summer jazz fests appear to be on the bubble – the JVC Jazz fest in New York and the jazz and folk festivals in Newport are both struggling to find sponsors to underwrite the events this year.

The State of Rhode Island has even gone so far as to cancel their contract with promoter Festival Network to present events at Fort Adams State Park, Newport Jazz's longtime home due to what the state says were late payments, the New York Times reported.

Compounding the matter is that there appears to be some controversy over who is going to produce the event. George Wein, the longtime impresario of both the Newport and JVC events, sold his company Festival Productions in 2007 to Festival Network. Festival Network continued to employ Wein as a producer-emeritus, but now Wein is saying that he's planning on staging both jazz and folk festivals in Newport under his own name. Wein is hunting for sponsors for his own event, but has stated that he'll underwrite them himself if no sponsors come forward.

Wein hasn't forgotten about New York either. While he's said that without a sponsor, he can't afford to produce a festival there, he has booked a number of dates at Carnegie Hall with artists such as Diana Krall. A spokesman for the venue confirmed to the New York Times that Wein had confirmed some June dates but said that Festival Network has yet to reserve any space on the calendar.

Festival Network has said that it plans on holding events, but as of yet, no dates have been confirmed.

Festival Network claims that they are planning on producing events in both New York and Newport but so far, nothing has materialized and it may be a bit late in the day to get started. Booking agents such as IMN's Scott Southard told the New York Times that they have been "operating with the assumption that it’s not going to happen."

Southard went on to note that festival dates are usually booked by January and that many major tours were already planning to skip New York as there didn't appear to be any major festivals in the offing.

"Artists who are capable of selling Carnegie Hall-level shows have suddenly had one of the cornerstone events pulled out of the booking season," Mr. Southard told the Times. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers