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Brecon Jazz Festival celebrates 40 years in 2024

Brecon Jazz Festival celebrates 40 years, with three spectacular weekends of jazz music and fun activity, plus free child entry on the ‘family jazz day’.

The world-famous Brecon Jazz Festival celebrates its 40th birthday this year, with three weekends of non-stop fun and music in August.

The festivities kick off with the ‘Family Jazz Day’ (children come free and can get their faces painted) in the marquee and gardens at The Castle of Brecon Hotel on Sunday August 4th between 12pm and 8pm.

Activity workshops for both children and adults will take place, including an ‘Art of Jazz’ workshop (painting album covers), a craft-making workshop (in preparation for the festival’s Frazz Parade) and an uptempo ‘singing together’ session, a special Jazz & Vocals group at lunchtime and a dance class.

Live music will be played from acts including world rhythms from Baraka, swing from The Jazz Passengers and funk from Bristol-based Jingu Bang. Food and drinks will be available from various vendors, plus The Castle of Brecon Hotel is offering a festival-special menu. Advance tickets £18 pp/ accompanied children come free.

The following weekend, August 9th-11th, will focus on the heart of the festival – jazz music, with both international and local artists performing, including Dionne Bennett, Zach Breskal, Cameron Saint’s Mingus Project, Rachel Starritt, Glen Manby, The Siglo Section, plus lots more.

On Friday 9th August, Guinea-born N’famady Kouyaté, now based in Cardiff, will showcase his blend of West African heritage and Western indie, pop and jazz. On Saturday 10th August, Welsh jazz pianist Geoff Eales will perform a ‘Homecoming’ themed concert, will collaborate with two Welsh instrumentalists, while Latina pianist Eliane Correa will bring her impressive Cuban quintet again to Brecon on Sunday 11th August.

The famous Brecon Frazz Parade will take place on Saturday 10th August in an afternoon full of costumes, characters, fun and community involvement. Vibrant local jazz band Wonderbrass will perform in the town centre.

The final weekend of celebrations on August 17th and 18th will feature film screenings, including the first UK showing of the 2017 French film Django, about the life of musician Django Reinhardt, plus more fantastic music including Julian Costello Trio, Afternoon in Paris.

Local students from the College (NPTC in Brecon) have been working with the team for months. Bhaigid Ahmed, who helped to create a variety of posters as a foundation art and design student at the Newtown campus, said, “It was great to experience the rich culture of Welsh jazz. We’re really looking forward to seeing all the visitors and musicians coming to Brecon in August following all the preparations, and long may this great festival continue!”

Festival Media & Event Support freelancer Rhydian Paterson said, “Last year, the atmosphere in Brecon was fun, vibrant, energetic, warm and welcoming and one can only imagine what this will be like in August…for what is bound to be a fantastic month for music and tourism in the Brecon Beacons.”

Brecon Jazz Festival Festival co-organisers Roger Cannon and Lynne Gornall said, “Jazz Under the Beacons’, or Bannau Brycheiniog, moves with the times and is still going strong after 40 years, attracting attention – and run, as ever, by a dedicated volunteer team.”

If you’re a Jazz lover, or looking for something different there’s more information and tickets are available here.