Brecon Jazz: 'Ambitious' virtual festival during lockdown

Tim Garland playing saxophone at the 2012 Brecon Jazz Festival

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Tim Dickeson

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Organisers said holding the festival virtually meant it would be “greener” and hopefully attract a wider audience to the market town

Musicians from across Europe and America will perform from their living rooms as part of an “ambitious” virtual festival.

The annual Brecon Jazz Festival attracts some of the world’s biggest jazz stars to the market town in Powys every August.

But organisers have moved the event, now in its 37th year, online during lockdown.

They said it was an “opportunity to attract a much wider audience” to jazz.

Set up in 1984, the festival has attracted stars including Sonny Rollins, Dionne Warwick, Courtney Pine and Jools Holland to the market town at the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park over the years.

With restrictions on large gatherings, social distancing measures, and travel restrictions, the organisers had to think outside the box this year.

In a statement, organisers said moving BJF2020 online would create a “greener footprint” with artists from across Europe, the UK and Wales, not having to fly or drive to the town to take part.

Performances, recorded from people’s homes, will be streamed online from Friday and can be watched until 30 August.

Musicians taking part include guitarist Eddie Roberts and US sax player Steve Lehman.

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Gypsy punk band Rogora Khart performed at Brecon Fringe in 2019

“We have set the musicians a really big challenge,” they said, adding it was the “most ambitious” line up to date, with everything from traditional to experimental.

“It’s going to be a very Brecon Jazz Festival. Just virtual. You’ll find all the usual friendliness and hospitable, easy-going atmosphere – that Brecon ‘vibe’,” they said.

“It may not be live but it will all be there.”

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