History of Brecon Jazz

The Brecon Jazz Festival is a marked event in every jazz enthusiast’s calendar. Approximately three decades since its establishment, the festival has been a stop for internationally-famous jazz musicians.

It all started when a member of the Brycheiniog Association was inspired by Holland’s Breda Festival, a premier jazz festival in Europe. The association was also planning to have an Arts Festival in the small market town of Brecon. Over time, the festival was organized, and that’s the birth of the Brecon Jazz Festival.

Since then, Welsh Jazz Society was contacted by the Brycheiniog Association in order to engage artists in the festival and arrange a programme as well.

During that time, jazz music has been proven to be popular to the European circuit. The small town of Brecon started putting names of jazz musicians to the roster and assigned George Melly, an English Jazz singer, to be the headlining act.

The 1984 festival proved to be a hit, with George Melly even describing it as being similar to a New Orleans festival, with music blasting off from pubs, street parades, and other locations. According to Melly, it was an exciting mayhem and a successful one to match.

Here is a timeline of the most momentous events during the festival:

1991

The festival has garnered the title of being one of the premier music festivals in Europe.

1995

The festival obtained an award called the ‘Schroder/Wales Tourist Board ‘Best Arts & Culture’ award.

2002

Brecon became one of the most beautiful and atmospheric places to showcase jazz.

2004

This year was when the first full colored program was released with Amy Winehouse being one of the performers.

2009

The festival was almost cancelled this year because of the lack of funding. Luckily, the Arts Council of Wales allocated an amount of budget in order to help.

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