Jazz impresario building legacy for Newport fests

July 24, 2011 - 1:29 PM

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — While crews begin erecting tents and stages for the upcoming Newport jazz and folk festivals, the events' founder and guardian angel is building something else: a legacy that he hopes will continue long after he's gone.

Eighty-five-year-old jazz impresario George Wein took the two festivals nonprofit this year to protect them from the ups and downs of corporate sponsorship. More than 50 years since the first festivals were held in Rhode Island, Wein says he wants to ensure the music continues.

The Folk Festival returns to Newport July 30 and 31 with performances by Emmylou Harris, the Decemberists and dozens of other acts. Both events will be held at Fort Adams State Park. This year's Jazz Festival will be held Aug. 5-7. Top performers include Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis.