“He was putting artists of eexceptionally shade, race, sex, sexuality on a stage together,” shelp one member of the board of the Newport Festival Foundation. “He was helping libeprice the Amerihave the right to culture.”


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George Wein, founder of Newport Folk and also Jazz Festivals.Handout
NEWPORT, R.I. — It’s said that after Bob Dylan went “electric” on stage in front of an audience for the first time, George Wein, co-founder of the Newport Jazz and also Folk Festivals, was waiting for him backstage, furious. Wein supposedly told him to go best back on stage and play an acoustic number.

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“People forget that I was the one on phase that made him go back out. Everybody was saying the crowd was going to riot,” Mr. Wein told Vanity Fair in 2009. “There was this actual division among young people: ones that had actually welcomed the Beatles and others that had not welcomed electrical music. They wanted the purity of individual.”


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Mr. Wein, that likewise co-founded the Newport Jazz Festival and also transdeveloped it right into a world-renown event, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday at his apartment in New York City, his publicist evidenced. He was 95.


It is via tremendous sadness that we let you know of the passing of our founder and also north star, George Wein. We have all lost a large champion of jazz, art, philanthropy, and ehigh quality. Tright here will never before be an additional choose him. Rest straightforward, George. #georgewein https://t.co/1AMOzOtq86 pic.twitter.com/8NEGu0Wc19

— Newport Folk Fest (
Newportfolkfest) September 13, 2021

“We have actually all shed a giant champion of jazz, art, philanthropy, and also ehigh quality. There will certainly never be another like him,” said a statement from the Newport Folk Festival.

“He not just created the concept of a modern music festival and also made the careers of countless music symbols, but his investment in music appreciation is to me what provides him the best symbol of them all,” Jay Sweet, executive producer of the Newport Folk Festival, said in a statement Monday. “George has an undeniable gift for making things take place. As an outcome, he has actually probably dan additional to preserve jazz than any type of various other individual. He was my mentor and, more importantly, my friend and also I will miss out on him dbeforehand.”


Related: Obituary | George Wein, legendary music producer and founder of Newport festivals, dies at 95

Bill Vareika, the owner of William Vareika Fine Art in Newport, said he met Mr. Wein in the at an early stage 1980s once he was a janitor at the Newport Art Museum. But in 2010, he sassist he got a contact from Mr. Wein to serve on the board of the Newport Festival Foundation.


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“I told him, ‘I’m not really an professional in jazz or people festivals. I suppose, I visited Woodstock,’” shelp Vareika.

“We all know the duty he played in Amerihave the right to music in the last half of the 20th century. But I’ll go as much to say that he was also quietly altering the extremely core of Amerihave the right to relationships via each various other,” said Vareika. “He was putting artists of eincredibly color, race, sex, sexuality on a stage together... He was helping liberate the American society.”

“George was a treasure. What he did was bigger than music,” he sassist.

For salso decades, Mr. Wein was among the many significant presenters of music about the people. In addition to his occupational cultivating the music festivals, he ran 2 Boston nightclubs, owned a document label, controlled acts, promoted tours, lectured at Boston College, and also composed a column around music for The Boston Herald-Traveler. He likewise percreated as a pianist, and videotaped more than a dozen albums.

In 1954, he met Newport socialites Louis and also Elaine Lorillard, and also agreed to develop a festival to “perform something with jazz” in the community.

“What was a festival to me? I had no dominance book to go by. I kbrand-new it had actually to be somepoint distinct, that no jazz fan had actually ever been exposed to,” he created in his memoir. “I remembered my nights in New York City when I had began off in Greenwich Village at 8 p.m., gone to Harlem, and ended up salso hours later on at 52nd Street. I could never acquire sufficient jazz. I heard Dixieland also, substantial bands, swing, unique singers, and also contemporary jazz. If this is what I loved, then that’s what need to appeal to any kind of jazz fan. I’m certain that’s what directed my principle of the Newport Jazz Festival.”


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In 1956, Fight It Out Ellington said he was “born at Newport” when he recorded one of his biggest hits, “Diminuenperform and also Crescenperform in Blue.” Miles Davis performed his comeearlier the year prior via his performance of “Round Midnight.”

In the start, Mr. Wein brought iconic figures to the seaside city, such as Billie Holiday, Johnny Cash, and James Taylor (who just percreated for around 15 minutes in 1969 as soon as Mr. Wein ended the festival beforehand as soon as it was announced that Apollo 11 came down on the Moon).

He received a Grammy Honorary Trustee Award in 2015, which was presented by rapper and actor LL Cool J. At the time, he said of Mr. Wein, “ defined what a music festival can be via the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival and also the New Orleans Jazz and also Heritage Festival. This is a great male. More than anyone, George collection the phase for what excellent festivals this day look like; festivals favor Coachella, Bonnaroo… He made this possible.”

Just shy of his 90th birthday, he tapped Sweet to become executive producer and also to oversee the organization via the board of directors. In 2017, he called bhelp Christian McBride as artistic director of the Jazz Festival.


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Bruce Gordon, who was formerly president of Verizon Retail Markets once he met Mr. Wein practically 2 years back, will certainly now succeed him as chairmale of the Newport Festivals Foundation.

“The mark of an excellent organization leader is to be able to take an concept and build it into something memorable, somepoint wonderful for the civilization to enjoy,” sassist Gordon. “It also takes someone extremely special prefer George to understand that, while your mind is still sharp, you deserve to handpick the human being to bring on your heritage. To be able to live lengthy enough to watch it flourish is an added blessing.”

Nick Pell, who prospered up in Newport and currently serves as treasurer of the Newport Festivals Foundation, shelp Mr. Wein was “still in the weeds of the details right into his ‘90s.”

“To be that dialed in, at that age, after this might years, mirrors us all a leskid in life: as soon as you have somepoint you love that a lot, it keeps you involved and also concentrated,” said Pell, who is also the grandson of the late UNITED STATE Senator Claiborne Pell. “The mission was still to continue cultivating new talent, to be a area where brand-new music and artists were discovered, and also it’s so at the core of what happens on phase... He was constantly banging the drum to perform ideal by the artists.”

Rick Massimo, writer of “I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival,” said he remembers Mr. Wein informing him in an interview that he began off as a piano player and conveniently realized that tright here were musicians “a lot better than he was” and that it would not become his career. Still, he wanted to incorpoprice music right into his life.

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“I won’t be the just one to say that he pretty much created the American, multi-day music festival that people are replicating today… whether they think they are or not,” sassist Massimo. “He did exactly what he wanted. I worked on that book for eight years. I interperceived dozens of world. He’s a giant in music, but likewise a great perboy.”

Massimo redubbed a story that Mr. Wein told him that as soon as he married his wife, the late Joyce Wein, that was Black, he “never wanted to be a rebel.”

Mr. Wein is quoted in Massimo’s book as saying, “I never before believed I was doing anything different by marrying Joyce. I wanted the same sort of respect my father had actually as a doctor. I wasn’t going to live an outsider’s life; I was component of culture. And to this day I still am. And that’s why I’ve lasted all these years, I think. I don’t weaken, but at the exact same time I don’t tell anyone else they’re wrong. They need to find out that they’re wrong.”

“And they’ll discover out.”

Politicians, musicians, and also Rhode Island also luminaries common their condolences online Monday evening.