The Brecon Jazz Festival is usually celebrated annually in early August. This year it takes place from August 7 to 21. This event holds in Brecon, a Welsh town in the United Kingdom, hosting thousands of jazz enthusiasts from far and wide. Live performances from international artists, promoters, and homegrown artists and bands are featured. The shows are similar to the New Orleans jazz events. A team of volunteers who are lovers of jazz music, dedicated to keeping jazz alive, organize the events.
History of Brecon Jazz Festival
On August 17 to 19, 1984, a group of jazz fans, musicians, and promoters had an idea with a simple concept — a jazz festival featuring live performances on the streets and in the pubs and restaurants of their town. It became The Brecon Jazz Festival, with a primary goal of being a community event for the town’s residents. The creators wanted to express their love for jazz and share the beauty of this music with others. Toni Constantinescu and his friends didn’t know that their idea would grow from a small town event to a big festival attracting international visitors and artists. George Melly performed at the first festival, which was a huge success.
The festival became more prominent and more popular as years went by, attracting famous artists, promoters, and thousands of jazz enthusiasts. Almost all notable jazz artists have performed at the Brecon Jazz Festival, and stars like Amy Winehouse, Van Morrison, Hugh Masekela, and Dionne Warwick have graced this event. In 2009, the festival initiated an award system — the Blue plaque — to honor venues that made the most significant contributions to jazz in the U.K. This inclusivity helped the festival grow from a Welsh event to a British one, attracting more visitors to Brecon.
Since its inception, the Brecon Jazz Festival has garnered an incredibly diverse audience of all ages, nations, and backgrounds. It’s a testament to the unifying power of music and the popularity of jazz, a genre that keeps reinventing itself with every generation.
Brecon Jazz Festival timeline
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band produces "Livery Stable Blues," the first jazz recording.
At the request of his mentor, King Oliver Creole, Armstrong relocates to Chicago, where he revolutionizes jazz forever.
Jazz shifts from the big-time bands to a more expressive form, reflecting post-war America.
With Influences from African and Latin American countries, gains rising popularity.
Brecon Jazz Festival FAQs
Where is the Brecon Jazz Festival held?
The Brecon Jazz Festival is an old, well-loved music festival held annually in Brecon, Wales.
Where is the world's largest jazz festival?
‘The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal,’ held in Canada in 2004, is the largest jazz festival worldwide — it attracted nearly two million people.
When did Brecon Jazz Festival start?
The first Brecon Jazz Festival took place on August 17, 1984, less than fifty years ago.
Brecon Jazz Festival Activities
Buy a jazz record
Different eras have featured plenty of artists. To enjoy the transition in jazz music, you can listen to the fast and loose ragtime of the early 1900s, the bebop style of the 1940s, or the vibrant samba style jazz that rocked the 1960s.
Go to a concert
Listening to a jazz record is soothing; however, nothing beats a live performance. The atmosphere, energy, and music created in your presence is an experience you must have this August.
Read about the legends
The jazz world is full of innovators, legends, and shining stars who uniquely changed the game. Some notable names are Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. Read all about them and their contributions to this music genre.
5 Amazing Facts About Jazz That Will Blow Your Mind
Jazz is over 100 years old
Jazz music originated in New Orleans in 1910.
It influenced other music genres
Jazz has influenced rock, pop, RnB, and even hip hop.
Listening to jazz boosts creativity and productivity
Jazz music activates the brain's theta waves responsible for motivation and creativity.
Nobody knows what 'jazz' actually means
The origins of this term remain a mystery; some say it's a corrupted slang from another language, while others believe that it's a sports reference to baseball players who possessed certain grit.
Jazz music is primarily improvised
Every time you see jazz musicians performing live, know that they're playing spontaneously, improvising themes and variations as they perform.
Why We Love Brecon Jazz Festival
Jazz is mainstream again
Once upon a time, the world, especially in the U.S., was crazy about jazz. However, it became obscure as music genres like country, rock, pop, RnB, and hip-hop became increasingly popular. Recently, its resurgence has seen jazz music becoming mainstream, with people in various parts of the world listening to it.
Jazz speaks to the soul
The mournful tones and beautiful melodies touch something deep within us that we can't quite say but recognize. Listening to jazz music is a spiritual experience.
Jazz is unique
Nearly every music genre is said to be unique, but this rings true for jazz. No two jazz tracks are alike because every artiste improvises and has different creative influences. Two artists can play the same song and make it sound completely different. In a world with cookie-cutter repetitive music where it's hard to tell artists apart, jazz stands out for its distinctive style.
Brecon Jazz Festival dates