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With eye on legacy, Newport festivals go nonprofit

By Michelle R. Smith
Associated Press / January 25, 2011

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—George Wein (WEEN'), the founder of the Newport jazz and folk festivals, is taking them nonprofit, a move designed to ensure they live on.

Wein is in his 80s and sold the festivals in 2007. But he stepped back in to run them in 2009 after the company that bought them ran into financial troubles.

Wein announced Tuesday he's established a nonprofit group called the Newport Festivals Foundation which will run the festivals, both founded in the 1950s. The group will also establish music education programs for young people.

Wein and his staff will continue to produce the festivals.

The festivals are known for legedary performances, such as when Bob Dylan went electric in 1965. But in recent years, they have had trouble attracting sponsors amid the economic downturn.