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BBC Wales's Melaine Doel reports
"The loss of sponsors like Hyder and British Airways has been a severe blow"
 real 28k

Jill Body, Brecon Jazz Festival
"We are now looking for huge sums of money from major sponsors"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 16:28 GMT
Jazz event hit by sponsor blues
Brecon town during jazz festival
Brecon benefits from revenue brought in by the festival
The future of the Brecon Jazz Festival is reportedly under threat after the loss of two major sponsors.

The money from the deals with utilities company Hyder and British Airways provided 50,000, which was crucial to the mid Wales town staging of the world famous event.

The festival - which has grown from humble beginnings in 1984 to become one of Europe's premier events securing exclusive UK appearances - is due to celebrate its 18th year in August.

But already organisers have put their offices in the town centre up for sale and begun looking for smaller premises.

George Melly
George Melly has appeared at the festival
A permanent exhibition portraying the history of jazz is also being taken down.

A spokesman confirmed that the future of three-day festival - which attracts more than 50,000 visitors - was uncertain.

But there is optimism that new sponsors can be found in time for this year's event.

The organisers are meeting potential sponsors in the next two weeks.

But they said they needed more support and more money from within the community.

Jass Festival
The festival is an occasion for performers of all pedigrees

Jazz critic Emyr Williams said: "It's a major, major blow for Brecon, and I very much hope that they can replace the sponsorship as soon as possible."

Altogether, Brecon Jazz costs 330,000 to stage with 160,000 of that going towards attracting some of the world's top jazz names.

Previous headlining acts have included Courtney Pine, Dr John, Andy Sheppard and George Melley.

In 2000, sponsorship was down by more than a half and attempts to get more money from the Arts Council for Wales failed.

For many businesses - expecially those selling drink and food - the festival is a lifeline to a hard hit rural area.

The event has grown from humble beginnings in 1984, to become one of Europe's premier festivals, securing exclusive UK appearances from major stars.

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