NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Its official – for the first time in 37 years, there will be no major summer Jazz festival in the Big Apple after corporate sponsors pulled out of Festival Network's Jazz Fest (Formerly the JVC Jazz Fest.)
The event was staged for years by impresario George Wein, however two years ago, he sold his company, Festival Productions to Chris Shields's Festival Network. Shields planned to "aggressively" grow the festival brands, a plan that Shields says was derailed by the loss of major sponsors and the economic turmoil.
"I'll certainly take criticism for the robust growth plan," Shields told the New York Times during a recent interview. "It may have been too robust for the time. I think if we weren't faced with this economy, we would have been just fine."
Some former business partners and employees speaking anonymously, have said that Shields plan was overly ambitious, despite the economic downturn and that he took unneccessary risks such as launching four new festivals last year without solid sponsorship, the New York Times said.
Festival Network's financial woes are affecting other events too, the New York Times reported and related events in Miami and Chicago as well as festivals in Mali and Timbuktu are a no-go. Last year, Festival Network helped to produce 17 major events around the world.
Earlier this year, Rhode Island officials announced that Festival Network had lost the contracts to utilize state-owned land for the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Wein announced that he had cut his ties with Festival Network earlier this year, and has since stated that he plans to stage events this summer in Newport, under his own name.
Shields isn't giving up hope for success however. "This business plan can succeed, absolutely," Shields told the Times. "You've seen it succeed in the promotions business, you've seen it happen in sports, you've seen it happen in management. We by no means, have given up." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers