THOUSANDS of music lovers will be left disappointed this year as the ever-popular Pontypool Jazz Festival has been cancelled due to a lack of funding.

After 13 successful years since its launch in 1999, Torfaen Council have announced they cannot afford to host the event this year.

The festival usually takes place on the first weekend in September and attracts visitors from across the borough and beyond including visitors from Pontypool’s twin town Longjumeau in France. As well as attracting a host of established acts the festival allowed young local musicians to showcase their talent.

Gary Stone of Pontypool Jazz, a group formed in 2008 to promote jazz and live music in Pontypool, said: “Pontypool Jazz Festival is a wonderful event which everyone in Pontypool and the surrounding areas looks forward to each year and enjoys. I can’t understand why the council couldn’t come up with the funding. Hopefully it will be able to carry on next year.”

Leader of Pontypool Community Council Cllr Dave Leek said: “I am very disappointed that Pontypool Jazz has been cancelled, every effort should have been made to at least have a smaller event to try to keep it going. When an event is cancelled altogether it is that much harder to rejuvenate it. Torfaen County Borough Council had not approached the Community Council directly or via the Jazz organising committee and we may have been able to offer some additional funding.”

A spokesman for Torfaen council said: “We are disappointed to have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Pontypool Jazz Festival, however it is one of the many tough choices that local authorities are having to make during this current economic climate.

“We are keen to see the festival return next year, so officers are starting the process of reviewing the situation and the way the event is staged.”

Support goes on for the big event

DEPUTY head of service for Gwent Music Support Service Paul Hornsby said: “The Greater Gwent Youth Jazz Orchestra have performed at this fantastic festival every year. The festival has always been very well organised and has given audiences the opportunity to hear interesting and diverse programming from both local and international artists and ensembles.

“It had become an important and prestigious event on the local and national calendar. It has done a great deal to raise not only Torfaen’s profile but also that of South Wales.

“I genuinely hope the Pontypool Jazz Festival can somehow be reinstated.”