Brecon Jazz to be run by the Hay Festival

High above New Orleans, (according to the Western Mail)

Good news. The Western Mail and Jazzwise Magazine yesterday reported fully Arts Council Wales’ decision to entrust the running of a mini-festival in Brecon in 2009 and a full festival in 2010 to the organisers of the Hay Festival. The runner-up in ACW’s process was John Ellson of ESIP.

The Western Mail says the Brecon Festival was conceived 25 years ago as “New Orleans beneath the Beacons.

Which would make Cheltenham “Greenwich Village hits the tea rooms, “ or maybe Glasgow “Joe Lovano with deep-fried Mars bars” (sorry Jill, just a joke!) Any more suggestions?

Categories: miscellaneous

3 replies »

  1. Its a great shame because John Ellson is a true jazz man.Before everyone gets too excited they may want to read about how the Hay festival has developed over the last few years http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2039786/Hay-Festival-has-sold-out-say-the-locals.html.If Brecon is going to go even further down the route of big-name; easy-listening; corporate sponsorship etc it will lose my support for one.What always made Brecon unique was its breadth – New Orleans, Swing, Bebop and avant-garde all mixed up – a bit of something for everyone (although in reecnt years it has narrowed its focus and ignored the growing popularity of European and World Jazz). I’ve worked there as a volunteer steward/venue manager for more years than I care to remember as have lots of other enthusiasts. Many of them have already walked away and I would hate to see the whole thing become just a festival instead of a Jazz festival!

  2. You have to be kidding? Hay’s phenomenal, and great fun. Did you not get that the Telegraph ran a spoiler against The Guardian-sponsored festival from a handful of very odd booksellers who’ve been bitching about the festival for years? You could find a hundred raves about Hay for every carping diary piece.I think Brecon’s been going down the tubes since Jed died. As you say, lots of loyal fans have got disgruntled. The Hay crew will give it energy and clout. Why don’t you see what happens rather than starting to whinge already? Look at which jazz artists Hay has booked recently.. Jimmy Cobb, Arve Henriksen, Hugh Masekela… I’d say Brecon was in safe hands.HWx

  3. Actually I think Brecon has been going down the tubes a lot longer than that. All good festivals develop a personality – a style that defines them. Brecon was always about the jazz – all sorts of jazz, popular and esoteric.What has happened over the last few years, as the council loaded more and more Health and Safety rules (and costs) on to the festival, is that the organisers started taking the risks out – looking for safe options that guarantee an audience. Eventually they attracted a corporate sponsor, and then made the big mistake of trying to tailor the programme to meet the needs of the sponsor (Believe it or not, but Joan Armatrading and Jules Holland do NOT make a jazz festival! And lets be honest – these days Hugh Masakela is more of a world music icon than a jazz musician).Of course Hay will give it energy and clout. I’m sure we can expect more populist big-names, I’m sure it will be successful. But I wonder how much interesting jazz will be on view!

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