Category Archives: Brecon Jazz Festival

Return of Junior Jazz to the Festival

The organisers of Brecon Jazz Festival 2019 have announced the return of ‘JUNIOR JAZZ’ to the Festival, with a concert to be held on Friday 8 August in the town centre.

JUNIOR JAZZ is a showcase for younger performers in an end of course concert, 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, the organisers 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.

This will be a FREE CONCERT that all can enjoy. Brecon Jazz Festival wants to show their 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 the afternoon Public Jazz programme, on Friday 8 August.

More details will be given nearer the time on this website. For any enquiries, please contact the BJ team by email on:

Steve Waterman to direct Friday night’s Big Band

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 yearthe organisers 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 the BIG BAND special at around 8-8.30pm (with meal beforehand) at the Castle Hotel.

On each of Saturday and Sunday, major concerts are planned. 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 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.

Brecon Jazz info: EMAIL: Website:

TICKETS: there will be inclusive ‘Weekender’ tickets covering 3 or 4 days, as well as Saturday and Sunday ’Day’ tickets.  FoBJ members will get a special discount which will be announced as soon as tickets are available. All concerts can also be booked individually, subject to availability.


“The jazz festival rocks”

The following editorial from local newspaper, Brecon & Radnor Express, gives an overview of the weekend:

“Music lovers flocked to Brecon over the weekend as the town was taken over by Brecon Jazz and the Fringe Festival.

Not even the rain on Saturday could dampen the atmosphere – which was described by festival goers as “buzzing” from start to finish.

Dixiland started the jazz weekend, which hosted musicians from around the world, with a concert at Theatr Brycheiniog on Thursday.  However the official launch came from the Big Band on Friday at the Castle Hotel.

The Jazz Festival, which also featured a series of “afternoon jazz” events in smaller venues such as Ty Helyg guesthouse, hosted free entertainment on the outdoor stage from Friday to Sunday.

Headlining the festival on Saturday evening was a South African Jazz band which was a tribute to the late jazz musician, trumpeter and composer Hugh Masekela who had previously performed at the festival in 2010.

The South African pianist Adam Glasser, who had worked with Masekela, curated the “unique and special tribute” as he led a sextet of musicians at the Guildhall Theatre.

As well as Adam, the other musicians in the sextet included trumpeter, Byron Wallen, who also worked with Masekela and knew him personally, saxophonist Josephine Davies, Rob Luft on guitar, Daisy George on bass and Corrie Dick on drums.

One of the jazz festival’s organisers, Lynne Gornall, said; “We are very pleased with the response to this year’s Brecon Jazz Festival programme.

“The variety of music, representing three continents and profiling of top Welsh and British jazz talent, went down very well with audiences as well as the quality of the music and musicians.”

The jazz programme, which took nine months of planning, was held at five major avenues – Brecon Guildhall, the Castle Hotel, Muse Arts, St Mary’s Church and the Wellington Hotel – as well as the main free stage on the Bulwark and the smaller acoustic free stage on the High Street.

Ms Gornall, who said the organisers are thankful to everybody who helped with this year’s festival, said they are already looking for venues, supporters, volunteers and funders to come forward now for next year’s planning.

The Fringe Festival was also a major success this year as it saw over 200 performances in over 20 venues over four days from Thursday, August 9 until Sunday.


Festival Workshops Programme

Workshops programme is now available at

Message from the organisers who will be emailing “Weekenders” about their choices:

Please note that Friday afternoon has 3 items (2 workshops and one small performance) – these are for FOBJ members’ first choice – a choice of one of these on Friday is already included in the FoBJ weekender ticket. These sessions and all workshops have a ticket price, as shown.”