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BBC Wales's Melanie Doel
"The BBC says the deal is part of its strengthened commitment to arts broadcasting in Wales"
 real 56k

Monday, 12 February, 2001, 17:58 GMT
BBC deal rescues Brecon Jazz
Brecon town during jazz festival
Brecon benefits from revenue brought in by the festival
The Brecon Jazz Festival - under threat because of sponsor withdrawal - has been saved - after the BBC stepped in and signed a three-year broadcasting deal.

Last week organisers had warned that the future of the annual event was unsure after two major sponsors - Hyder and British Airways - pulled out.

George Melly
Singer George Melly is a familiar face at the festival

The festival - which grew from humble beginnings in 1984 to become one of Europe's premier events - celebrates its 18th anniversary in August.

Every year it attracts 50,000 visitors to the town, generating 1m for the Welsh economy.

The loss of 50,000 in sponsorship last year had left the festival in a vulnerable position.

Organisers wrote to local businesses warning if they did not help out financially, the future of the event could not be guaranteed.

On Monday, BBC Wales has announced that it has signed a three-year deal with organisers - giving it exclusive rights to transmit TV and radio coverage of the festival.

Jass Festival
The festival attracts traditionalists and fans of more modern jazz

The BBC said the deal - believed to be worth 75,000 - is part of its strengthened commitment to arts broadcasting in Wales.

Festival chairman Jill Body said the deal would secure the reputation of the festival worldwide.

"We are delighted that it has finally been confirmed.

"It cements the relationship between the media and the arts in Wales," said Ms Body.

The cost of staging Brecon Jazz is around 330,000 - with 160,000 of that going towards attracting some of the world's top jazz names.

Previous headlining acts have included Sonny Rollins, Courtney Pine, Dr John, Andy Sheppard and George Melly.

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