Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals Announced Cancellation, Refund Policy

With the Covid -19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably and in accordance with state guidance on large gatherings, we are deeply saddened to announce that both the 2020 Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals will be cancelled this summer. Together with our local leaders and Governor Gina Raimondo, we have concluded that at this time we risk too much in having a gathering of our size. “As devastating as it is to write these words, it’s balanced with a renewed sense of, well, HOPE,” says Executive Producer, Jay Sweet. “It’s Rhode Island’s motto for good reason, and it’s also the feeling our festival family, constantly exudes when we come together in good times and perhaps more importantly, in difficult times as well. This community is truly unlike any other in music, and I believe we can emerge from this adversity stronger and more connected than ever before.”

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The impact of this cancellation will be felt deeply throughout the community as Newport Festivals Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3, relies on the money it makes each year at the festivals in order to carry out its work.. Thanks to the support of our Newport Folk and Jazz fans, the foundation has been able to support music programs in our own backyard of Newport and all across America. The foundation has funded music programs for remote communities in Alaska, donated instruments to schools in Puerto Rico that were decimated after Hurricane Maria and brought jazz education to schools that have no music programs due to funding cuts. 

In addition to its year round work, the foundation also created the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund last month to help mitigate financial hardship for musicians with over six figures in donations to date.

All ticket holders have the option of a 100% full refund if desired. Other options include 1) an opportunity to donate all or a portion of their ticket to go directly towards ensuring the festivals for 2021 while continuing the foundation’s support for artists and educators; 2) applying their refund towards a 2021 Revival Membership – a new and one-time offer we’ve created specifically to ensure the future of the festivals and provides these members with 3-day tickets to the 2021 festival (remaining memberships will be offered to the general public directly after the refund period). 

We encourage those who don’t have tickets to consider making a tax-deductible donation ( Help us continue the festivals, support year-round music education initiatives, and provide grants to artists in need. 

Created by George Wein (now 94) in 1954 and 1959 respectively, The Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals are some of the longest running music festivals in history. Newport Jazz has been home to legendary performances by Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock while Newport Folk has witnessed, co-founder Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash and of course Bob Dylan. Widely considered two of the most treasured cultural institutions in American history, they are known for their once-in-a-lifetime collaborations and more for what’s not announced than what is last year’s folk festival alone saw surprise performances from Dolly Parton, Jim James, James Taylor and even Kermit The Frog.

“Although we won’t be able to gather at the Fort this summer, rest assured we have invited ALL the announced artists to join us next year,” says Sweet. “In the meantime, we promise we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend. As always, we have some secret surprises in store as well, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, be present, be kind, be open, be together and stay strong.”

About the Newport Festivals Foundation:

Newport Festivals Foundation, a not for profit 501(c)3, fosters the legacy and expands the impact of its Festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in jazz and folk music. The Foundation’s goal is to offer opportunity, inspire through exposure and facilitate the collection of resources needed for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to spark engagement is accomplished through a variety of initiatives, including instrument donations and performances at schools throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

For more information on education initiatives offered by Newport Festivals Foundation, visit

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