Newport Folk & Jazz Festivals officially cancelled for 2020
Not surprising news, but a bummer all the same: Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival have cancelled their 2020 editions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Newport Folk was scheduled for July 31-August 2, and Newport Jazz for the next weekend, August 7-9, both at Fort Adams State Park. Executive producer Jay Sweet announced the cancellations in a letter:
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.
However, while your safety was at the core of the present decision, your support will be at the core of our future viability. Our ability to produce this festival in 2021 - and continue making a lasting difference in the lives of artists, students and music lovers like yourselves - is in your hands. Quite simply, we need your help.
Due to the financial and institutional uncertainties we find ourselves in, we believe the most trusting and direct course of action is to let the ticket holders decide where their ticket dollars should go. We have sent all ticket holders an email mapping out three options:
1) Donate all or a portion of your ticket that will go directly towards ensuring our festival for 2021 while continuing our support for artists and educators.
2) Apply your refund towards a 2021 Revival Membership - a new and one-time offer we’ve created specifically to ensure our future and provide these members with 3-day tickets to the 2021 festival (remaining memberships will be offered to the general public directly after the request period).
3) Receive a 100% full refund if desired.
For those of you who didn’t have tickets for this year, PLEASE consider making a tax-deductible donation. Help us continue these festivals, support year-round music education initiatives, and provide grants to artists in need.
I want to personally thank our founder George Wein, our staff, our Board of Directors, the City of Newport, and the DEM for their continued efforts. And, offer a personal note of gratitude to Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, for her leadership and counsel in prioritizing our well being in making the decision to cancel the festival.
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.
Be Present. Be Kind. Be Open. Be Together.
Last month, the Newport Festivals Foundation, which operates both festivals, launched the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund, "to provide financial relief to musicians in our Folk & Jazz communities experiencing a loss of income as a result of COVID-19 through rapid micro and full grants." You can make a donation to the fund here, and musicians can apply for a grant here.