Gretchen Valade, whose Mack Avenue Records sponsored the 2005 festival after the Ford Motor Company withdrew its support, offered to donate $10 million to create a foundation to run the festival. Valade is the granddaughter of Hamilton Carhartt, who founded the Carhartt work-clothes company.
In her original proposal, the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, which has produced the event since 1994 but has struggled to keep it solvent, would turn over control to the new foundation. Representatives of Music Hall and Mack Avenue Records are now discussing arrangements under which Music Hall would remain involved in the festival, perhaps by producing education programs or an affiliated concert series.
Billed as the largest free jazz festival in North America, the festival drew about one million spectators this year.