The Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival was recognized for its landmark 40th anniversary by the State Legislature on April 25 in a joint resolution sponsored by Sen. Kathleen Marchione and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner.
Presented annually by Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) since 1978, the two-day festival is one of the longest running and most acclaimed events of its kind. Present for the occasion were Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s president and CEO; festival producer Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment; and William Sullivan, director of sales for Freihofer’s Baking Co., the title sponsor of the festival since 1998.
“The 40th Anniversary of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is a milestone worth celebrating, not only for the longevity it represents, but for its contributions to this extraordinary, uniquely American art form, which marks its own 100th anniversary this year,” said Sobol.
“In each of those 40 years, this festival has showcased the jazz giants, innovators and rising talents whose music has kept the genre thriving, evolving and expanding to new audiences. At its most personal, this event has been, and continues to be, a meaningful and joyous part of the lives and memories of countless people, including many for whom it’s an annual tradition. It all adds up to an impressive legacy and one that grows with each new season,” she said.
The event is also an annual boost to tourism in the city.
The festival, originally titled the Newport Jazz Festival – Saratoga, was founded in 1978 by iconic jazz impresario George Wein, the creator of the celebrated Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and several other nationally recognized music events.