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BBC Wales's Melanie Doel reports
"Funding for the festival has become an important issue"
 real 56k

Sunday, 13 August, 2000, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Jazz festival expects 50,000
Brecon jazz
The festival attracts around 50,000 visitors
Good weather and a strong line up of the world's leading jazz musicians is set to attract record crowds at this year's Brecon Jazz Festival.

But with funding a critical issue and sponsorship down there are calls for the festival - one of the largest in Europe - to receive more grant aid.

The festival - now in its 17th year - is a massive event with 50,000 people expected to cram into Brecon town during the weekend.

It costs a 330,000 to stage with 160,000 of that going on attracting some of the world's top jazz names.

This year, sponsorship is down by more than a half and attempts to get more money from the Arts Council for Wales have failed.

For many businesses - expecially those selling drink and food - the festival is a lifeline to a hardhit rural area.

This year for the first time ever - an economic impact study will assess just how much income the festival generates.

The 17th Brecon Jazz Festival is preparing to welcome the legendary New Orleans pianist and singer Dr John.

One of the largest events of its kind in Europe, the festival boasts a line-up of some of the biggest jazz names in the world.

George Melly
George Melly is included in the festival line-up

But festival organisers are warning of the need for better grant aid.

They say it has become increasingly difficult to fund the event which lost 60,000 last year.

Now an economic impact study is investigating how much income the festival generates in the area.

Brecon Jazz is a massive festival with 50,000 people expected to cram into the small market town over the next three days.

But it does not come cheap, costing around 330,000 to stage - 160,000 of the money goes on attracting some of the world's top jazz names.

Humble beginnings

The line-up this year includes legendary New Orleans pianist and singer Dr John is along with fellow pianists Lonnie Liston Smith and Kenny Barron. Among the British stars is George Melly and Andy Sheppard.

The event has grown from humble beginnings in 1984, to become one of Europe's premier festivals, securing exclusive UK appearances from major stars.

But this year's sponsorship is down by more than a half and attempts to get more money from Arts Council has failed.

Many local businesses have said that the extra trade is a godsend to a hard-hit rural area.

The economic impact study will, for the first time, assess how much income the festival generates.

But finances apart, the organisers have said that the weekend is promising to be another record year.

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12 Aug 99 | Entertainment
All that jazz in Brecon
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