Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 13:05 UK

Jazz festival's 'future secure'

Members of Cardiff-based Wonderbrass take part in the parade
Members of Wonderbrass in the Brecon Jazz parade

The new Brecon Jazz festival has been hailed a success and organisers say its future is secure.

Musicians from around the world entertained more than 20,000 visitors during three days in the Powys town.

Its new producer Peter Florence said organisers would now look at how to develop the event, which this year had been "relaxed and easy".

Its future had been in doubt after poor summer weather in 2008 forced a company running it into liquidation.

The people behind the literary festival in the nearby town of Hay were eventually given the job of running Brecon Jazz.

Mr Florence made changes and said before this year's festival it would focus more on music and less on a culture of drinking, adding that families would not visit in the past because of "the drinking".

There are more real jazz lovers, and, thankfully, less boozy behaviour
Tracey Mcateer, The Wellington Hotel, Brecon

Mr Florence said: "The vibe's been good - relaxed and easy.

"The parade was great fun and there've been some magical concerts. We'll look at the numbers and decide how to develop it."

Tracey Mcateer, manager of The Wellington Hotel, said there had been a "massive shift" in the way the festival was delivered.

She added: "There are more real jazz lovers, and, thankfully, less boozy behaviour. It's clear that everyone involved made a huge effort, and given the time you had, it has been fantastic."

'Real pleasure'

Thomas McCourt, the owner of Oh, a store specialising in art, Welsh interest and language books, said it had been a "real pleasure to see people walking through the streets of Brecon, with more children and - responsible - adults than ever before coming to enjoy the music and the town".

Brecon's former mayor Councillor Martin Weale added: "There have been noticeably more people around town and visiting local retailers than there have been in previously years when the streets have been closed off.

"Interestingly, I've noticed an increase in the number of children this year, which is a great thing to see."

The future of the festival had been in doubt, though. In January, a company running it went into liquidation.

A month later the Arts Council of Wales, which stepped in to oversee its future, said it was postponing the 2009 event because there was no time to organise it.

But days later it was announced it would go ahead after all.

Among this year's highlights were South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango.

There was also a parade of floats, horses, musicians and entertainers through the streets on Saturday.

Among other performers were the pianist and godfather of British jazz, Stan Tracey, and Art Themen.

A festival spokesman said: "Over 20,000 visitors and members of the local community turned out to enjoy the festivities over three days, exceeding organisers' initial expectations, and ensuring that - after a year in which the world-famous jazz festival's future had been in doubt, before the organisers of The Hay Festival stepped in to assume control - the future of Brecon Jazz is secure."

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