George Wein and Pete Seeger at Newport

Music festival impresario George Wein, founder of the Newport Folk Festival, among others, will receive the first Power of Song Award during an Oct. 21 benefit concert in New York City. Monies raised during the event, which is set for 8 p.m. at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, will support the environmental education programs of Clearwater, a nonprofit organization launched by Pete Seeger and others more than 40 years ago to help spur awareness of and preserve and protect the Hudson River and its tributaries.

Seeger, along with other folk music luminaries — including Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand and Albert Grossman — backed Wein when he founded the Newport Folk Festival, which has been held in or near the coastal Rhode Island resort city since 1959. A pioneer among producers of outdoor music festivals, Wein had earlier created the renowned Newport Jazz Festival and also founded the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival in cities around the world.

Over the years, the Newport Folk Festival has featured a wide array of established and emerging artists. During the folk revival era, the festival helped launch the careers of such artists as Joan Baez (who was introduced to the world by Bob Gibson at the inaugural event in 1959) and Bob Dylan during the 1960s. Financial problems forced its cancellation in 1970, and a last-minute license rescission by the Newport City Council the following year was followed by a 15-year hiatus. It was revived in 1985. Wein sold the production company that staged both the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals in 2007 but stepped in to help keep the festivals afloat in 2009 and has been at their helm since then. Both festivals are now produced under the umbrella of the nonprofit Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc.

Artists slated to join Seeger in performing during the benefit concert include David Amram, Richard Barone, Jonatha Brooke, Guy Davis, Arlo Guthrie, Lucy Kaplansky, Tom Paxton, Toshi Reagon, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Suzanne Vega and Loudon Wainwright III, among others. Tickets, priced at $70-$90, are available at or by calling (212) 864-5400. A limited number of $250 tickets include premium seating and a post-concert reception with the artists at the venue, which is located at 2537 Broadway at 9th Street in Manhattan.