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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Festival fits in extra day for Van
Van Morrison
Van Morrison was a last-minute addition to the line-up
The Brecon Jazz Festival is opening a night early this summer - to fit in an extra concert by Van Morrison.

The Thursday night show by the Irish singer has been added to the line-up of this August's festival, unveiled on Thursday.

Other highlights include veteran pianist Stan Tracey performing his Under Milkwood suite, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and Grammy-winning American singer Dianne Reeves.

Jass Festival
The festival attracts traditionalists and fans of more modern jazz
There had been a doubt over the 18-year-old festival's future because major sponsors pulled out, but it was secured thanks to a joint effort by the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) and BBC Wales.

The WTB will provide grant aid, while BBC Wales has signed a three-year broadcasting deal.

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.

Exclusive rights

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

But in February BBC Wales announced that it has signed a three-year deal - giving it exclusive rights to transmit TV and radio coverage of the festival.

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.

George Melly
Singer George Melly is a familiar face at the festival
"We are delighted," she said.

"It cements the relationship between the media and the arts in Wales."

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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See also:

12 Feb 01 | Wales
BBC deal rescues Brecon Jazz
12 Aug 99 | Entertainment
All that jazz in Brecon
19 Jul 99 | Africa
Jazz to the Lagos beat
28 Jul 99 | Entertainment
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17 Aug 99 | Wales
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