ORGANISERS of a 'massively scaled down' Marlborough Jazz Festival are still confident they have got 'the cream of the crop' to appear in the town in July.

Bitter talks raged for months between festival planners and Wiltshire Council as the all-day road closures the festival wanted were refused, with the council acting on the concerns of local businesses who said it had a negative impact on their trade.

This year, just two venues, the town hall and St Mary's Church, are being used compared to around 20 in previous years, meaning that only 1,050 tickets are available for the July 14-16 festival.

However festival organiser Nick Fogg said he was thrilled to secure the likes of Greg Abate, who played with Ray Charles, The USF Jazztet, who have played at some of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals, and The Hitman Blues Band, in a fraction of the time the organisers normally have to book performers.

"It is a shame that the festival has been downsized but it was impossible to reach a compromise on public safety. Wiltshire Council have absolutely no idea what a compromise means. But we could not let locals down, there will still be a heck of a line-up this year.

"I want to assure the jazz lovers out there that we have the cream of the crop here, they really are of the highest calibre," said Mr Fogg.

"Obviously we are more restrained than in previous years as we have far fewer venues but to get some of the names we have got in such a short period of time is brilliant. Usually we have a year to prepare but this time it has been since January.

"We are also proud to continue the proud tradition of the Sunday Jazz Service in St Mary’s Church which will include the Slaughterhouse Seven, Debbie Bond and the Marlborough Community Choir.

"What we will do is look at how this year goes and if we have a huge success we will think about how we carry on. If a compromise can be found that would be great but I am not holding my breath."

Other performers include Annika Skoogh, the Latin Underground, Rick Asheton and Pete Allen.

In September, the entire jazz festival committee resigned from their roles due to irreconcilable differences with the organisers.

Three former members, Robin Pritchard, Alan Giddings and Richard Bailey, are now working on plans for an alternative music and arts festival for the summer of 2018.