Written - Brecon Jazz Festival
In late 2008 the organisers of the Brecon Jazz Festival decided, in the face of financial difficulties, to wind up their affairs. Following the organisers' announcement, the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) acted quickly to invite expressions of interest in running a Festival in 2009. Four bids were brought forward in January. Two were judged by the Council to demonstrate an all-round capacity to develop a Festival that would be of high artistic quality, while giving due attention to the needs of the local community.
In the event, however, the Council came to the difficult decision that to arrange a full Festival in 2009 represented an unacceptably high level of risk, due to the logistical difficulties involved, both at the artistic level and in terms of making adequate practical arrangements (such as security and street cleansing). With regret, the Council therefore concluded that it had to balance the understandable desire to see a Festival in 2009 with the ACW’s responsibility to safeguard the appropriate use of public funds. It therefore took forward discussions with the two bidders with a view to a Festival being held in 2010.
The Council has now completed its consideration of the two bids and has decided that funding will be allocated to the Hay Festival. The Hay team are now charged with developing a 2010 Festival that balances artistic quality with the needs of the local community in Brecon.
The Hay Festival proposals include some ideas for mounting a programme of small-scale jazz events in Brecon during 2009, which the ACW would consider supporting through the Council’s overall grant-in-aid allocation for the coming financial year.
I am fully supportive of the ACW's decision: to work towards hosting an event in 2010 that will give all parties involved an opportunity to stage an event of which Wales and, in particular, the people of Brecon, can be proud. I now look to the ACW to ensure that a high-quality and well-organised Festival takes place in 2010, so that this well-regarded and enjoyable part of the Welsh summer calendar can once again flourish.