There'll be no Brecon Jazz Festival in 2009, for the first time in 26 years, despite efforts by the Arts Council of Wales to co-ordinate a rescue of the event following offers from four organisations.
The ACW has invited two groups to develop detailed plans for an international jazz festival in 2010, but believes it to be "too risky" to stage one this year.
Brecon International Festival of Jazz Ltd ceased trading in December following a substantial loss over the 2008 event due to a combination of factors including bad weather, higher costs and lower sponsorship income.
Of the four organisations bidding to rescue the event, the ACW has asked the Hay Festival and a partnership between the Celtic Spirit group and international music events company ESIP to expand on their proposals.
ACW Chief Executive Nick Capaldi said: "We've narrowed it down to two exciting but very different proposals. Each has put forward its own distinctive ideas for running an international jazz festival, but it's now down to the detailed discussions."
Despite the ACW's earlier statement that it had £125,000 available to support a festival in 2009, Mr Capaldi confirmed that it was now aiming for 2010.
"No-one wants to see a gap year in 2009 ... but trying to rush through a major event in little over six months is, in our view, too big a hurdle to leap," he said.
"We need to get this right for the future and also learn lessons from the past."
The two organisations selected have been invited to hold further discussions with the ACW and to share their proposals more widely to build support for a relaunched Brecon Jazz Festival in 2010. A final decision is expected in April.
Other bids had been put forward by Theatr Brycheiniog and organisers of the Porthcawl Jazz Festival.
Brecon has hosted a jazz festival every year since the event's humble beginnings in 1984, despite a number of setbacks including the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001, the death of festival director Jed Williams in 2003, and recent licensing restrictions affecting live music in the streets.
Martin Weale, the Mayor of Brecon, told the BBC he would be disappointed not to see a festival in 2009.
"I don't think anyone had expected a postponement and the financial implications for the town and surrounding area are worrying - I am concerned the value of the brand of Brecon jazz could be lost by missing a year."Meanwhile organisers of the Brecon Fringe Festival, which has operated parallel to but independently of the official jazz festival for a number of years, insist the event will still go ahead in 2009.
A statement on the Fringe website claims that "the Arts Council of Wales does not own Brecon Jazz Festival. Anyone could put on a jazz festival in Brecon provided they had the funds to do so."See the Brecon Fringe website for more details.
Here is the full unedited text of the ACW statement:
Arts Council of Wales looks forward to a new future for Brecon Jazz Festival
The Arts Council of Wales has announced today that it has selected two organisations to develop detailed proposals for an international jazz festival in Brecon in 2010. Four organisations were originally invited to submit expressions of interest. The two successful bidders are Hay Festival, and a partnership between the Celtic Spirit Group and international music events company ESIP.
Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive for the Arts Council of Wales said:
"We've narrowed it down to two exciting but very different proposals. Each has put forward its own distinctive ideas for running an international jazz festival, but it's now down to the detailed discussions. This is a prize that shouldn't be handed over easily. Brecon deserves a high quality jazz festival that can once again stand proudly as one of Wales’s signature cultural events."
The Arts Council considered carefully whether a successful Festival could be organised in time for 2009, but has reluctantly concluded that the very tight timescale is too risky. Commenting on the timing, Nick Capaldi said:
"This has been an agonisingly difficult decision, and no-one wants to see a gap year in 2009. We're acutely aware of the Festival's contribution to the local economy in Brecon, especially in the current economic climate. But trying to rush through a major event in little over six months is, in our view, too big a hurdle to leap. We need to get this right for the future and also learn lessons from the past."
The two organisations selected will now be invited to hold further discussions with the Arts Council. They will also be encouraged to share their proposals more widely to build support for a successful launch of a re‑invigorated Brecon Festival in 2010. A final decision will be taken by the Arts Council in April.
See www.artswales.org.uk for more details or the BBC News website - feel free to click the Comments button below or email andy @ jazzinwales.co.uk to share your views.