CareFusion, a medical devices company that has sponsored the event for the past two years, has decided not to reup for 2011, festival founder George Wein said in a statement this morning.
The 2011 festival is scheduled for Aug. 5-7 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I. Festival spokeswoman Carolyn McClair said the event is not in jeopardy and that Wein is already booking artists.
"Any organization that gets involved with the jazz festival in Newport will enjoy a newsworthy celebration of America's music," Wein said. "The sponsorship fee is attractive and the benefits are immediate and substantial. We look forward to building new relationships as we continue to bring great music to Newport."
Electronics maker JVC had sponsored the festival for 23 years before CareFusion became the title sponsor.
Wein, 85, founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and ran it for 43 years. In 2007, he sold his production company and the rights to the festival to an outfit called Festival Network. But things didn't go well, and financial problems nearly forced the cancellation of the 2008 festival, until Wein stepped back in and took the reins. A year later he landed CareFusion as the main sponsor.
CareFusion did not say why it is pulling out. "Through our successful partnership with George Wein, we were able to substantially increase awareness of CareFusion and our commitment to patient safety," David Schlotterbeck, chairman and CEO of CareFusion, said in a statement. "It was our pleasure to sponsor the Newport and New York jazz festivals, and work with the jazz community to bring great music to thousands of jazz fans over the past two years."
(AP photo: Dave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis at the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.)