George Wein, the iconic producer of the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival, turns 94 years young today.
George Wein, born on October 3rd, 1925, is considered to be as much a legend as his festivals. Through his company, Festival Productions, he has spearheaded hundreds of music events since 1954 when he produced the first Newport Jazz Festival – an event which started the festival era. Five years later, Wein and folk icon Pete Seeger founded the Newport Folk Festival. In 1970, Wein founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He pioneered the idea of sponsor association with music events, beginning with The Schlitz Salute to Jazz and the Kool Jazz Festival. His company went on to produce titled events for JVC, Mellon Bank, Verizon, Essence, Ben & Jerry’s and others.
As he slides into his mid-90’s, Wein has as much creative fuel as he did when he started the Newport festivals and advanced the concept of live music.
Newport Festivals Foundation is encouraging fans to help celebrate Mr. Wein’s 94th by leaving him a happy birthday message here. They say they’ll print them all out on a massive surprise birthday card and share with him at the end of the month.
Read the conversation we had with George back in 2017.
- A Conversation with George Wein: Artistry – the Festivals (Part 1)
- A Conversation with George Wein: Madam Chaloff, a Bucket of Blood, and Storyville (Part 2)
- A Conversation with George Wein: Motivation (Part 3)
- A Conversation with George Wein: ‘I’ve lived my own life on my own terms’ (Part 4)
- A Conversation with George Wein: ‘You Have to Say You Did The Right Thing’ (Part 5)