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Last Updated: Friday, 11 August 2006, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Town tunes up for jazz festival
Jazz band in Brecon street
There will be no street parades at the festival this year
Music fans gathered in mid Wales for the 23rd HSBC Brecon Jazz Festival which opened on Friday.

Up to 70,000 people were expected in the Powys town between 11-13 August.

Organisers said there was a "strong focus" on the piano, including shows by veteran British pianist Stan Tracey, who turns 80 this year.

The programme also paid tribute to American jazz city New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina last year.

Other stars confirmed on the programme include Courtney Pine, Chico Freeman and Benny Golson.

Dyfed-Powys Police made 24 arrests during the weekend last year, with a reduction of incidents of disorder on the town's streets recorded.

The town will really buzz over the weekend
Technical director Paul Elkington

In June, the festival announced there would be no street music this year to save money.

As a consequence, Powys Council donated 7,000 to the 2006 event, instead of the usual 11,000.

All the music this year will be concentrated at the official venues.

A festival spokesman said: "There's a strong focus on the piano at this year's festival, with a number of leading international exponents of the instrument, such as Stan Tracey, who's involved in three concerts.

"There's also a mini-piano festival on the opening night featuring Brian Kellock, Keith Tippett and Kirk Lightsey.

Top left and clockwise: Courtney Pine, Stan Tracey,  Benny Golson and Gwyneth Herbert
The 2006 line-up includes Pine, Tracey, Herbert and Golson

"And we've got the Spirit of New Orleans playing - they're a band of New Orleans musicians, who are promoting the whole spirit of that city."

This year's festival is sponsored by HSBC, in the first of a three-year deal which the spokesman said gave the event welcome "financial stability".

Technical director Paul Elkington said there was a "mad rush" to finish off the venues before the Friday's evening shows.

"You've got so little time to get places ready. Everything's got to be done by 5pm on Friday. It's got to be ready - no excuses," he said.

His team have prepared four outdoor sites and five indoor venues, along with 26 generators, 14 tower lights about 500 stage lights.

"The town will really buzz over the weekend," he added.


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