Photo of Jay Sweet, George Wein and crew at 2015 Newport Folk Festival (via George Wein on Facebook)

Jay Sweet, producer of the iconic Newport Folk Festival® since 2009, has been named Executive Producer of the Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc. (NFF), effective immediately, it was announced today by George Wein, the Foundation’s Chairman. In his new role, Sweet is responsible for the development, management and execution of the Jazz and Folk festivals in Newport, RI and other music programs that enhance brand outreach.

“For the past year, I have been working with the board of directors to develop a succession plan for the Newport Festivals Foundation.  It is with great pleasure that I announce that the board has approved my recommendation to appoint Jay Sweet to the position of Executive Producer,” said Wein. “Since meeting Jay in 2007, I have witnessed a hard-working producer with outstanding vision, a passion for music and the desire to see the festivals grow and live on for decades to come. This is an important step as we plan for the sustainability of NFF, and we strongly believe in Jay’s work now and for the future.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with George, the board and our exceptional team as we begin our sixth year as a non-profit organization,” said Sweet. “I am humbled by the board’s confidence in me. To be appointed as the Foundation’s torchbearer is not only an amazing opportunity, but also a great responsibility as people know and respect the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals throughout the world.”

Sweet’s primary responsibilities will include hiring and management of producers and staff, management of artist negotiations, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising as well as budgets and financial planning.

Since signing on to produce the Newport Folk Festival, Sweet has most notably directed a bold sales and marketing plan that reliessolely on the event’s brand to sell out months before the festival begins, before artists are announced and without the support of advertising and news releases. He attributes these successes to consistent support from the “Folk,” who keep in constant contact via social media outlets. Sweet also brought the festival to Fort Adams State Park for three days and produces a series of concerts with area partners throughout festival week. He expanded the outreach of the brand with Newport Folk Radio and Newport Folk Presents, which includes a series of concerts in Boston, New York and beyond. He has a strong commitment to the environment and “greening” the festivals is a high priority. The Newport Folk Festival has been nominated Pollstar Music Festival of the Year for the past four years.

Sweet joined the Newport Folk Festival in 2007 as a consultant andbecame an associate producer in 2008 and producer in 2009. He has served as editor-at-large and Director of Business Development for Paste magazine, as a principal and co-founder of Sweet & Doggett Consulting and is a frequent keynote speaker at film and music conferences. Before the Newport events, Sweet spent a decade helping corporate America with its music initiatives and now continues that expertise with the Newport Festivals Foundation.

The 2016 Newport Folk Festival (www.newportfolk.org) is set for July 22-24, followed by the Newport Jazz Festival (www.newportjazzfest.orgJuly 29-31.

The Newport Festivals Foundation was founded by George Wein to build and continue the legacies of the famed Newport Jazz Festival® and Newport Folk Festival®. Under the auspices of the Foundation, the festivals present performers who respect and honor folk and jazz music traditions, and at the same time reflect the changes in today’s musical trends. The Foundation offers programs to educate young people about jazz and folk music as presented at the annual festivals. For more information, please visit www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.