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Jazz News

Hope For Brecon?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Following the decision of Brecon International Festival of Jazz Limited to call in the receivers moves have been afoot to save the festival.

Following the decision of Brecon International Festival of Jazz Limited to call in the receivers moves have been afoot to save the festival.

The Jazzmann has received a copy of the attached press release from Mike Skilton of Black Mountain Jazz outlining plans for a rescue passage which will ensure that a festival takes place next year.

It is possible that either Theatr Brycheiniog or Hay Festival of Literature may also become involved. 


Following the collapse of Brecon Jazz, a new proposal has been submitted for staging a Jazz Festival in Brecon in 2009 and annually afterwards. 

The proposed new Festival management team will be led by a new company formed by Ben Jones of the local Celtic Spirit Group and John Ellson of the international music and corporate events organization ESIP Ltd.

The co directors of the new organisation will be dedicated to delivering both the annual event, with a commitment to jazz, Brecon and Wales.  It will also pursue other activities throughout the year to develop the ?Brecon Jazz’ brand at the national and international level. 

Ben Jones is a well-known businessman in South Wales, with a wide portfolio of interests. He has recently completed restoring the Kings Arms in Abergavenny, which is now a top restaurant. Additionally, it is a thriving centre of music. It has one of the rising jazz clubs in Wales, which as well as attracting acts of the calibre of Andy Sheppard, Dan Stern and Martin Speake’s Generations, also actively supports Welsh artists. 

Ben has a track record of supporting Welsh initiatives and activities and with his love of music, particularly jazz, blues and acoustic, it was not surprising to see him emerge as a significant sponsor of Brecon Jazz 2008.

John Ellson is a renowned international music and corporate events producer and has worked with the world’s leading jazz, pop and world music artists across three decades.  From producing and touring Ray Charles, B.B.King and many more internationally renowned artists in the 1980’s & 90’s, John has been programming cutting-edge concerts, tours and festivals for a variety of UK and international clients and has provided programming, production and PR services for international events.

John has had a relationship with Brecon Jazz Festival for many years, having been invited to assist with production, logistic support and to liaise with the BBC/S4C on all filming activities at the event.  His knowledge of the town of Brecon, its venues and complex staging requirements are key features to making the event successful. He remains committed to an independent Brecon Jazz Festival working within the Welsh Jazz community.

The directors believe high quality programming by those experienced in the jazz field is essential and the main focus should be on the Stroller programme.  To this end, the new company has already put in place its Stroller management team, which draws on successes from recent years.

The directors also believe that the traditional values of the Festival need to be re-established.  Programming will be tailored to suitable venues, such as Theatr Brycheiniog and the Market Hall.  By using venues that are a part of Brecon’s infrastructure, they intend seeing the Festival remain a community event and, therefore, a continuing benefit to Brecon.

As well as staging the Festival annually in August, other planned future developments would involve a year round approach to ensuring Welsh artists receive an international profile through the brand of ?Brecon Jazz’ and also ?Welsh Jazz’. 

The company will have a staffed office in Brecon to administer and deliver the Festival and associated events. A dedicated team will be led by John Ellson to programme and produce the Festival, whilst Ben Jones will lead the ?sponsorship’ team to maximise commercial and private investments.  Together, they will ensure that all local community groups are engaged.

For further information, please contact:
Ben Jones of the Celtic Spirit Group: Tel: Tel. 01873 735770
John Ellson of ESIP Ltd & Global Mix Media: Tel. 0118 940 6812