Mid Wales

Ticket sales 25% up for Brecon Jazz Festival

A saxophonist under a bridge at Brecon jazz
Image caption The three-day festival includes more than 50 gigs

Advanced ticket sales for this year's Brecon Jazz Festival are up 25% on last year, says its organiser, adding he is "optimistic" for a successful event.

It comes after the cancellation of Gwynedd's Faenol Festival due to poor ticket sales.

A company previously running the Brecon Jazz went into administration in 2009.

New organiser Peter Florence said music events "need a clear identity". This year's three-day event starts on Friday.

It is staging more than 50 concerts from a diverse line-up including Kyle Eastwood, the son of Hollywood legend Clint, Pee Wee Ellis, who was part of the James Brown Revue in the 1960s, and South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela.

Poor ticket sales were blamed for the cancellation of the Faenol Festival - called off for the second time in as many years.

The decision was announced on Thursday by a "disappointed" opera star Bryn Terfel, who has backed the event near Bangor, Gwynedd.

Mr Florence, who is also the director of the Hay Literary Festival, is running the Brecon Jazz for the second time.

Asked how events like Brecon Jazz can avoid the same fate as the Faenol Festival, he said: "We're just trying to grow Brecon organically and slowly, in the same way we build all our international Hay festivals."

Mr Florence added: "Festivals need to have a really clear identity.

Image caption South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela is performing at the festival

"You need to be the best rock/jazz/opera/symphony festival in the country or world, but you have to manage growth just as you do in any other industry.

"Scale has to be managed slowly. We're managing Brecon pro-bono (for the public good) because we believe in it and want to build it."

Mr Florence said the festival was already "25% up on last year's total. We're optimistic that the ends will meet".

Among the performers at this year's festival will be singer Omara Portuondo, blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, the Dave Stapleton Quintet and the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

Other highlights will be a performance by Jacqui Dankworth, the daughter of Dame Cleo Laine and the late Sir John Dankworth. Their son, Alec, will accompany his sister on stage.

There will also be a carnival parade in aid of Usk House Hospice and a special jazz service at Brecon Cathedral, while Brecon Fringe Festival is staging gigs in pubs and clubs from Thursday to Sunday.

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