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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Street music returns to jazz fest
Jazz band in Brecon street
Town centre musicians were banned at last year's event
Street performers are set to return to the Brecon jazz festival this summer after some visitors criticised the atmosphere at last year's event.

However, street music will only be heard in daylight hours as a compromise to counter concerns about drunkenness.

The announcement came as the festival launched with the help of festival regular First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Jools Holland, Mica Paris and Curtis Stigers are confirmed for the festival which takes place between 9-12 August.

The 24th festival will feature 32 concerts, more than 60 stroller events, along with live music and street entertainment in the town centre.

A spokesman for Brecon Jazz said street performers would remain in the town centre until 1700 or 1800 BST on Saturday and Sunday.

Rhodri Morgan trying the saxophone (pictured in 2004)
Swing to Labour - jazz fan Rhodri Morgan will launch the event

"I think we took the feedback from last year's event and told ourselves that we did not want to lose that atmosphere in the town centre again, but we also did not want to compromise the safety and enjoyment for visitors and towns people," he said.

Last year around 70,000 revellers came to the town for the annual event, where a ban on town centre musicians was first instigated on a "trial" basis.

There were still some marching and samba bands in other areas of Brecon but not at the same level as previous years.

Dyfed-Powys Police said the ban had helped to prevent large build-ups of people in the town centre and this had led to a "relatively quiet weekend" for the force.


Organisers say this year's festival, which has been sponsored by HSBC once again, will feature several Welsh musicians, as well as talent from across the globe.

Saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano will become the festival's first ever artist-in-residence, a role which will see him perform in a number of different concerts as well as hosting a masterclass for students of the instrument.

Jools Holland will be joined by Lulu for his concert, two-time Grammy nominee Jessica Williams will perform as a soloist, and Mercury music prize nominee Zoe Rahman will be part of the line up.

Other performers include two very different piano styles from Mose Allison and Jason Rebello, Spanish guitarist Eduardo Niebla and award-winning folk singer June Tabor.

The event will be opened by harpist Catrin Finch.

This will be the final year for Walter Dickie as Brecon Jazz chairman, who said the festival was continuing to attract international music talent, as well as providing a stage for home grown talent.

"(The festival) brings great economic benefits to the immediate area and to Wales," he said.

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