Page last updated at 07:24 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Gap year for Brecon jazz festival

Louise Marshall singing at last year's festival
Brecon jazz held its 25th anniversary last year

Plans to stage a jazz festival in Brecon have been postponed for a year but it will return in 2010, according to a group overseeing its future.

The Arts Council of Wales said to organise a successful event in just six months was "too big a hurdle to leap".

It was hoped the festival would go-ahead this August even though the firm behind it ceased trading in December.

Hay Festival and a partnership between two businesses are on a shortlist of rescue bids to run Brecon jazz in 2010.

Four groups had applied to stage the festival, but following an arts council meeting on Friday two - Brecon's Theatr Brycheiniog and Porthcawl Jazz Festival - have been withdrawn from the bidding process.

The final decision between Hay Festival and a partnership between Celtic Spirit Group and international music events company ESIP will be made in April.

This has been an agonisingly difficult decision, and no-one wants to see a gap year in 2009
Nick Capaldi, Arts Council of Wales

Chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales Nick Capaldi said: "We've narrowed it down to two exciting but very different proposals.

"Each has put forward its own distinctive ideas for running an international jazz festival, but it's now down to the detailed discussions.

"This is a prize that shouldn't be handed over easily. Brecon deserves a high quality jazz festival that can once again stand proudly as one of Wales' signature cultural events."

The arts council said it carefully considered whether a successful festival could be organised in time for 2009, but it "reluctantly concluded" that the "very tight timescale is too risky".

Mr Capaldi added: "This has been an agonisingly difficult decision, and no-one wants to see a gap year in 2009.

"We're acutely aware of the festival's contribution to the local economy in Brecon, especially in the current economic climate. But trying to rush through a major event in little over six months is, in our view, too big a hurdle to leap."

Brecon mayor Martin Weale said he was disappointed.

He added: "I don't think anyone had expected a postponement and the financial implications for the town and surrounding area are worrying."

"I am concerned the value of the brand of Brecon jazz could be lost by missing a year."

The jazz festival, held every August, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008.

But it ran into financial difficulties after poor weather hit ticket sales.

The Brecon Jazz Festival company went into liquidation on 9 January. The arts council was appointed to oversee the event's future a few days before.

The event regularly attracted up to 70,000 visitors from around the world.

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SEE ALSO
Decision on jazz festival future
30 Jan 09 |  Mid Wales
'Four bids' for festival rescue
19 Jan 09 |  Mid Wales
Arts council oversees jazz bids
08 Jan 09 |  Mid Wales
Brecon jazz goes into liquidation
09 Jan 09 |  Mid Wales

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