By way of a followup to the comments spawned by this post, I bring you this:
George Wein wonders why people aren't going to his Newport festivals anymore:
NEWPORT - George Wein looked at the shaky attendance numbers for the 2006 Dunkin' Donuts Newport Folk Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival-Newport and made a decision: he's going to become more hands-on.
He's not calling it a rescue mission, but the recent numbers worry Wein.
The folk festival drew 4,000 people Aug. 5 and 4,600 Aug. 6 to Fort Adams State Park. There was a time when the festival could draw 8,500 a day.
The jazz festival brought in an encouraging 7,200 people last Saturday, but attendance fell to 4,500 on Sunday - the lowest turnout in recent memory at the 8,500-capacity venue.
Wein - who helped start the jazz festival in 1954 and the folk festival in 1959 - said he believes quality and quantity need to match up. "I think we had good festivals this year, but the numbers are very disappointing," he said Sunday. "Whatever we've been doing isn't working."
For instance, the Indigo Girls, who headlined the folk festival on Aug. 6, played two nights at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., on July 24-25, potentially hurting folk festival sales in South County, Westerly and into Connecticut.
Wein said he is looking for ways to re-ignite interest in the Newport festivals. He wants to keep them going, and does so with corporate sponsors, but he is concerned.
"We have Dunkin' Donuts through next year, and I think with a better year next year we can keep them with us," he said. "We've had JVC for a long time (since 1984), and we can't do it without the sponsors."