entertainment

CareFusion to sponsor Newport jazz fest

GEORGE WEIN HAS FOUND A new sponsor, CareFusion Corp., to support his annual jazz festival in Newport.
Posted 7/8/09

NEWPORT – CareFusion Corp., a San Diego-based medical products company, will sponsor this year’s annual jazz festival in Newport, longtime organizer George Wein said yesterday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Aug. 7 to 9 event will be renamed George Wein’s CareFusion Jazz Festival 55. In addition, CareFusion has agreed to sponsor jazz festivals in Chicago; Monterey, Calif.; Manly, Australia; Paris; and New York City over the next year.

Ronda Thomas Farrell, a marketing consultant who is advising CareFusion, told The Associated Press the sponsorship made sense for CareFusion because research shows that physicians and other health providers rank arts and music as one of their favorite leisure pursuits.

“We saw how jazz was being used to teach listening skills in medical schools like Baylor, and that a significant number of clinicians and administrators are also professional-level jazz musicians,” said Farrell, who runs The Exordium Group Inc., a consulting firm based in Park City, Utah.

Wein, who produced the original Newport Jazz Festival in 1954, told The AP that CareFusion’s support means the Newport festival “will not lose money this year” and is on firmer financial footing for next year.

Wein sold his company, Festival Productions, to a firm called the Festival Network in 2007, but eventually broke ties with the new entity.

After the Festival Network’s finances fell into disarray, Wein formed a new company, New Festival Productions LLC, and got a license to produce the jazz and folk festivals in Newport himself this year. George Wein’s Folk Festival 50 is scheduled for Aug. 1 and 2.

“I’ll produce these two festivals — New York and Newport — as long as I can,” Wein told The AP. “I had no choice. I either could let everything I worked for all my life die or I could fight to keep it alive as long as I'm alive. Fortunately my general health is pretty good and my head is pretty good.”

CareFusion is scheduled to be spun off later this year from Cardinal Health Inc. as a separate public company.

Additional information is available at CareFusionJazz.com.

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