The 2018 Newport Jazz Festival (NJF) will take place from Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 5, at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, with more than 60 artists in three days.
NJF is one of the most respected and renowned festivals in the world, and arguably the oldest festival. NJF is the location of the acclaimed film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, and a number of notable recordings, including Ray Charles at Newport; Miles & Monk at Newport; Live at Newport ’58; Nina Simone at Newport; Count Basie at Newport; Ellington at Newport; New Thing at Newport; Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport; and many more.
NJF was established in 1954 by socialite Elaine Lorillard, who, together with husband Louis Lorillard, financed the festival for many years. The couple hired jazz impresario George Wein to organize the event to help them bring jazz to the resort town.
Most of the early festivals were broadcast on Voice of America radio, and many performances were recorded and have been issued by various record labels.
In 1972, NJF moved to New York City. In 1981, it became a two-site festival when it returned to Newport while continuing in New York. From 1984 to 2008, the festival was known as the JVC Jazz Festival until 2009.
Since NJF’s inception in 1954, Wein has presented a who’s who of the jazz world. The 2018 line-up is equally impressive, with Charles Lloyd’s three-day birthday celebration with Zakir Hussain, Lucinda Williams, and Jason Moran; Pat Metheny with Antonio Sánchez, Linda May Han Oh & Gwilym Simcock; Andra Day; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic; Jon Batiste; Artemis featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant, Renee Rosnes, Anat Cohen, Melissa Aldana, Ingrid Jensen, Noriko Ueda & Allison Miller; Gregory Porter; R+R=NOW, featuring Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin, and Justin Tyson; Grace Kelly; Laurie Anderson and Christian McBride with special guest Rubin Kodheli; Ambrose Akinmusire’s Origami Harvest; Harold Mabern & Eric Alexander; Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles; Michel Camilo; Roy Hargrove; Jane Bunnett & Maqueque; Jazzmeia Horn; Emmet Cohen; Helen Sung on Tap; The DIVA Jazz Orchestra; Charenée Wade; Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl; Bill Charlap; Sara Caswell & Dave Stryker; Alicia Olatuja, Still Dreaming with Joshua Redman, Ron Miles, Scott Colley, and Brian Blade; Living Colour; Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers; Rudresh Mahanthappa Indo-Pak Coalition; and many more.
The musical line-up is remarkably global, including artists from New York, New Orleans, Manchester, Cuba, Virginia and Toronto.
NJF will host a tented village filled with vendors, including talented painters, photographers, hat and clothing designers, jewelry makers, handmade instrument makers and creators of other specialized collectibles. A variety of food and beverage choices will be available, including beer and wine gardens. There will also be official merchandise stations on site.
On Saturday, Aug. 4, the 2018 Newport Festivals Foundation Gala will be held at The Elms, one of Newport’s spectacular mansions. The program will feature Pat Metheny, Christian McBride, Jon Batiste and Jazzmeia Horn, giving intimate performances while guests enjoy delicious food and cocktails. To purchase gala tickets, go to www.newportfestivals.org/gala2018.
Visit www.newportjazz.org for ticketing options, performance lineup and more information.
For the third year in a row under the auspices of the Newport Festivals Foundation, festival-goers are invited to Bridgefest, from July 30 to Aug. 2. Bridgefest is a celebration of jazz, folk, and Newport’s musical community, and will include concerts, films, educational programs and several music-related activities in and around Newport.
Bridgefest was originally founded in 2009 by the Arts & Cultural Alliance, to “bridge” the days between the Newport Folk Festival (July 27 to 29) and the Newport Jazz Festival (Aug. 3 to 5).
For more details about specific events, visit the website at www.newportbridgefest.com.
Travel to Newport
Newport Jazz Festival’s official travel partner, WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM radio station, here in Newark, NJ, is offering day trips and an exclusive weekend package for festival fans. For more information on travel packages, go to www.wbgo.org/Newport.