The organisers of Brecon Jazz Festival 2019 are delighted to announce the RETURN OF ‘JUNIOR JAZZ’ to the Festival, with a concert to be held on Friday 9th August in the town centre.

JUNIOR JAZZ is a showcase for younger performers in an end of courseconcert, led and directed by Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Paula Gardiner.  Paula, who is head of Jazz Studies at the College, has run this concert event for many years. It is the culmination of an intensive but fun week of teaching, coaching and rehearsing at the RWCMD in Cardiff, and will feature young musicians from the ages of 8 to 18 on stage. Festival audiences will recall these finale concerts held in Brecon in the past, and this year, in association with Paula Gardiner and her colleagues, we are bringing the showcase concert back to the Festival. Tricia Keir, Head of the RWCMD’s pre-College department said they expected to feature a wide range of instrumentalists as well as vocalists, and they were all very pleased to be presenting as part of this year’s Brecon Jazz Festival.

We are also making this a FREE CONCERT that all can enjoy. We want to show our support for what Paula and her colleagues are doing, the young players, and to give them the widest possible audience. So the free concert will be held in the town centre as part of our afternoon Public Jazz programme, on FRIDAY, 9thAUGUST.

STEVE WATERMAN to Direct the Festival Big Band 2019! – see info below, & weekend overview

FESTIVAL BIG BAND – Friday evening at the Castle Hotel Ballroom (Fri 9 August 2019)

We are delighted to announce that one of our top British trumpet players, STEVE WATERMAN has accepted the Festival organisers’ invitation to direct the Friday Big Band at Brecon Jazz this year. With an established reputation and as a dedicated jazz musician, composer and educationist, Steve regularly features on the UK, European and International jazz scene. He says: “”I am really looking forward to directing and performing with the
Festival Big Band on Friday 9th August at the Brecon Jazz Festival – and in the splendid Castle Hotel ballroom!..I’ve been working alongside the organisers Lynne & Roger to handpick an amazing group of musicians, and I’ll be bringing a selection of jazz arrangements and compositions (including my own) to showcase the talents of everyone involved”. He adds that “it will certainly produce a performance that can only be heard at this year’s festival, on Friday at the Castle at Brecon Jazz 2019!”.

The Festival organisers say it is great news that Steve Waterman is coming over, and also that last year’s Big Band Director, stellar trombonist Gareth Roberts, will join the lineup for 2019 too. Alongside Steve Waterman himself, who will feature on trumpet, will be a leading new jazz instrumentalist Charlotte Keeffe (on trumpet), alongside a dazzling set of UK and Welsh musicians including Alice Leggett (alto sax), Dan Messore (guitar), Paula Gardiner (double bass), Rebecca Nash (piano), Andrew Bain (drums), with more to be confirmed.

WEEKEND OVERVIEW : Thursday 8 August to Sunday 11 August 2019
This year – which is Brecon Jazz Festival’s 36th year – we are planning to programme from THURSDAY (8th August) in order to include a major event which will also be promoted to the town and surrounding area – a jazz orchestral work.

FRIDAY’s programme (9th August) will commence after lunchtime, from 2pm, with FREE JAZZ concerts and featuring young people, until around 4.30pm. This will be followed by another UK top name CHARITY concert at 6pm, and then our BIG BAND special at around 8-8.30pm (with meal beforehand) at the Castle Hotel.

On each of Saturday and Sunday, we are planning major concerts. They will begin each weekend day at noon; the Festival will close on Sunday evening. Top UK, a number of European stars, and a leading US jazz name will be featured. More info via the B&R in the weeks to follow.

VENUES this year will include the Brecon Guildhall Theatre, Castle Hotel, Wellington Hotel, Ty Helyg Guesthouse, St Marys Church, Brecon Cathedral, Theatr Brycheiniog the Muse, and we hope, the re-opened Y Gaer.

TICKETS: there will be an inclusive ‘Weekender’ ticket, as well as Saturday and Sunday ’Day’ tickets, and all concerts will be able to be booked individually, subject to availability. Friends of Brecon Jazz get special discounts and the first ticket release, so check their website and join up in time to support the 36th year of Brecon Jazz Festival.

The definitive guid to the weekend:

Here is the updates poster and some of the sites at last weekends Llandeilo Jazz Festival and in Brecon Town Centre.

First big programming announcement….

“Brecon Jazz 2018 organisers proudly announce their Saturday evening headline concert at this year’s Brecon Jazz Festival – on Saturday 11 August, a special performance of  South African Jazz, including a unique tribute to the trumpeter and composer, jazz musician, Hugh Masekela. The Festival Organisers have invited South African pianist Adam Glasser to curate this special tribute, and to lead a thrilling sextet of musicians in a headline concert at Brecon Jazz 2018. 

The concert brings together different generations of UK-based musicians to explore the legacy of township jazz standards that were made famous by the late Hugh Masekela, who passed away in January this year. Adam Glasser leads this ‘dream team’ of outstanding instrumentalists and soloists, including those like trumpeter Byron Wallen and Adam himself, who knew Hugh Masekela personally and worked with him, as well as the outstanding saxophonist Josephine  Davies; the sextet is driven by a dynamic young rhythm section of Rob Luft on guitar, Daisy George on bass, and Corrie Dick on drums. A very special lineup for a unique occasion,

All say that they are absolutely delighted to be coming together in this special performance and celebration at Brecon’s 35th Anniversary Jazz Festival, and the opportunity to pay tribute to the artistic work and cultural legacy of Hugh Masekela, who died on 23rd January this year.

The concert will include personal reminiscences of Hugh, as well as musical references, set in the wider rhythmic context of the sounds of ‘jazz’ of South Africa. A trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela is considered the ‘father’ of South African jazz. He was also one of the ‘greats’ to appear on the concert stages of Brecon, and performed at the Market Hall as part of the Brecon Jazz Festival eight years ago – on the ‘same date’ of 11th August, 2010.

In putting on this ambitious event, the Brecon Jazz team acknowledge the outstanding support of Brecon Town Council and also a number of local and national organisations, including Friends of Brecon Jazz.

One of the key themes this year will be – THE SPIRIT OF THE FESTIVAL – honouring the legacy of Brecon Jazz itself, as well as some of its legendary performers such as Hugh Masekela, as well as bringing invited new talents to Brecon to take the spotlight in these uniquely-curated concerts. 

Brecon Jazz Festival 2018 takes place on the weekend of 10-12th August.  There will be 12 key concerts in five central venues, with street music, markets and outdoor entertainment. Weekend and Day tickets will be available in mid-May. For further information, see / email:”

So, its all up and running for 2018 here at BJF Towers!

The dates for your diaries are Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August and we have lots and lots of great things in store for you.

Big headliner announcement this Sunday 20th May so keep a look out!

In the mean time, the general weekend poster is here, feel free to copy and share away!

Great write up on a great weekend!! HERE

What a great day yesterday was and thats just the beginning!! Brecon Jazz festival is truly on its way back to #BreconmJazzLegend status!! 

‘A legend in its own 5/4 time!’

Some pictures from yesterday (un edited as yet I’m afraid)

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Not many festivals can boast reaching their 34th year, but Brecon Jazz can!

It’s been an incredible ride from the Jazz festival’s first couple of years in the early 1980’s. There have been a few interesting times along the way, but the 34th year is ready to be a big weekend. The Festival is going back to its roots and focusing on what makes the festival so special..the people of Brecon. Yes, YOU!

This year’s theme has been In Brecon, by Brecon, for Brecon and this is why the festival is returning to its roots by closing the town centre to traffic for the whole weekend. This way, families will have lots to do. So if you mix together some great Jazz events, fringe and the street scene over the weekend, you have something for everyone.

There’s been great support from the town with Specsavers in Brecon supporting the Dave Brubeck event, Brecon Brewing sponsoring the main stage in the Bulwark and lots of valuable help and support from The Wellington Hotel, The Castle Hotel, Mitchell Meredith, Brecon Town Council. So it’s a real Brecon family affair.

The festival opens this Friday 11th August at 8pm, with a ‘Slice of Jazz Big Band’ at the Castle Hotel. The lead TENOR SAX PLAYER is Martha Skilton, who is a renowned and in demand jazz musician, part of the team at BLACK MOUNTAINS jazz. Lynne Gornall from the Brecon Jazz Festival team said, “Martha played in the lineup at Brecon Jazz Festival last year and also at Brecon Jazz Club.  We’re delighted she’ll be in full sax ‘voice’ for our opening concert”.  It’s all about showcasing great female jazz talent throughout the Festival, and starting on the Friday, as the free live stage opens with the SAXALETTES – four women, four great sax players at the Bulwark, Friday 11th August at 2pm.

So even though most of the Jazz concerts are virtually all sold out, there is still lots to do in the town over the weekend and excellent music to be heard on the free live stage.

So, with the weather looking good, the vintage fayre being delivered Friday morning,
live, free music in the streets, kids’ activities and fun stuff, a Jazz exhibition in the library and Guildhall and the legendary Brecon Farmers Market. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

All these events are put on by a small team and local partners working to recreate the ‘Festival Feeling’ In Brecon, by Brecon, for Brecon. For Help or Information email:

Good write up in the Brecon and Radnor today – the excitement is building!!