JazzFest History

Jules Belkin

Awarded: 2017
Born: Cleveland, Ohio

"When we started the business, everything out there was being improvised. Everything was by the seat of your pants.""

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In 1966, lifelong Clevelander Jules Belkin co-founded the legendary Belkin Productions with his brother Mike. Interestingly, their first profitable concert was the Northeast Ohio Jazz Festival in the old Cleveland Arena. Featuring Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Horace Silver and others, it played to a racially mixed crowd on the heels of the Hough riots.

Belkin Productions was a pioneer in creating the first rock and roll outdoor stadium concerts in the U.S. After many successful years presenting major artists from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones, the Belkins sold their company.

A patron and lover of the arts and his hometown, Jules has been active in the Cleveland arts community for several decades. Along with Tommy LiPuma, he was a founding member of the Tri-C JazzFest National Advisory Committee and a generous supporter of the festival.