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Thursday, August 12, 1999 Published at 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK

Special Report

All that jazz in Brecon

Brecon Jazz will see a special tribute concert from Stan Tracey

The normally peaceful mid-Wales market town of Brecon will be resounding to the strains of music as more more than 50,000 people gather this weekend for the 16th annual Brecon Jazz Festival.

The event has grown from humble beginnings in 1984 to become one of Europe's premier festivals.

It now secures exclusive UK appearances from some of the major stars on the jazz scene in a programme encompassing more than 90 concerts.

Home-grown talent

The music on offer covers the broad spectrum of jazz from modern to mainstream, Latin to gospel, and the cream of home-grown Welsh talent in a range of venues including concert halls, pubs, a public school and carparks under canvas.

The centenary of the birth of Duke Ellington will be celebrated at Brecon this year with special tribute concerts featuring stars like pianist Stan Tracey, the David Murray Big Band, and tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton - a regular visitor to the festival.

Many of the major concerts, including those by Stan Tracey and guitarist John Etheridge, have already sold out.

But tickets are still available for many of the main events, including the popular Stroller tickets which offer admission to several concerts.

The festival - which runs from Friday until Sunday - is not popular with all local residents and is always a busy weekend for the Dyfed Powys police force.

'Unacceptable rowdiness'

Many traders are shutting up shop this weekend to avoid what they describe as "an unacceptable level of rowdiness".

But others say the festival attracts much-needed business to Brecon, with thousands of people flocking to the town to enjoy the home-made food, craft stalls, and street entertainment which all contribute to the festival's unique atmosphere.

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