In Wednesday’s (5/20) New York Times, Ben Sisario writes, “Around this time of year, posters for the JVC Jazz Festival would be appearing on the streets of New York, and jazz tourists would be finalizing plans to arrive in the middle of June for two weeks of bragworthy shows. But for the first time in 37 years, there will be no major summer jazz festival in New York. … Two years ago the impresario George Wein sold his company, Festival Productions, to a group led by Chris Shields, a charismatic entrepreneur who planned to transform Mr. Wein’s empire through aggressive growth. Now that plan has all but collapsed, as Mr. Shields’s company, Festival Network, has lost its top sponsor, as well as several signature festivals, delivering what many call a painful blow to jazz. … Last year Festival Network presented 17 festivals around the world, but Mr. Shields said he has none to announce this year. The company lost its contract for the Newport jazz and folk festivals in Rhode Island because of late payments for use of state parkland. … Last month JVC said that after 24 years with Mr. Wein, it would no longer be sponsoring jazz.”

Posted May 21, 2009