No cash for jazz festival, says Pontypool council

First published in News

PONTYPOOL Community Council will not be funding a mini jazz festival to act as a substitute for the cancelled Jazz Festival.

The community council was asked to consider a proposal from Torfaen Jazz Society to host a mini festival at Panteg House in Sebastopol after the ever-popular Pontypool Jazz Festival had to be cancelled due to a lack of funding.

After 13 successful years attracting thousands of music lovers since its launch in 1999, Torfaen council announced it could not afford to host the event this year.

The festival usually takes place on the first weekend in September and has attracted visitors from across the borough and beyond, including people from Pontypool’s twin town, Longjumeau, in France.

Torfaen Jazz Society put forward proposals to host a mini festival to continue the tradition of a jazz festival in the town.

They estimated needing a budget or grant of £3,000 to organise a daylong festival at Panteg House involving 60 to 70 musicians, including youth bands and local artists.

Speaking at a full Pontypool Community Council meeting last Wednesday the council’s leader, Cllr Dave Leek, said: “The council feels this is not a good time to spend money on the project.”

He since added: “It is with regret that we will not be having a jazz festival as we have been supporters of it all along.

“But unfortunately we do not have the money for it at this time and the community council is looking at keeping its precept down this year for the benefit of the people. It’s sad to say but there are difficult times to be had.

“I am disappointed but I had to support local members in the chamber.

Sometimes you get outvoted.

You win some, you lose some.

“It may be worth Torfaen Jazz Society joining forces with Pontypool Jazz at the Comrades Club to see if they can come up with something to keep the tradition alive.”

When the cancellation of the Pontypool Jazz Festival was made, Cllr Leek, speaking in a personal capacity, said: “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.”

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