Dancing with the Diaspora
                                                                                                   
Cape Town International Jazz Festival ... the jewel in Cape Towns crown

 

 

 

In 1998 Rashid Lombard established espAfrika as a leading event management company. A year later, espAfrika formed a partnership with Mojo Concerts BV, one of the world's largest integrated event companies and the producers of The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland. Together, they brought the North Sea Jazz Festival to Cape Town until 2005. In that same year, espAfrika broke away from Mojo Concerts and renamed the festival to The Cape Town International Jazz Festival and has been hosting it successfully ever since. As the largest Jazz Festival in Africa, the Cape Town Jazz Festival has evolved from its early 2-day format to week- long series of events with the Jazz Festival being the major crowd-drawer. The entire event is broadcast on radio and television and boasts a sold-out crowd each year over 34000 people, hosting 40 local and international artists. The festival, which demands extensive logistics, safety and security and spectator management contributed R425million directly to the GDP of the Western Cape in April 2014 and R685million to the national GDP.

Comments from the City of Cape Town Mayoral Commitee:

The City of Cape Town recognises the importance of the creative industries as a catalytic sector that  generates jobs, wealth and cultural engagement. 
One of the ways that the creative industries manifest is through events.  Below is an example of some of the events that the City of Cape Town is a proud supporter of: Cape Town Fringe Festival, Open Design Festival, Voice of the Cape Festival, Cape Town Carnival, CPT Electric Music Festival, Open Book Festival, Suidoosterfees, Maboneng Guguletu Arts Experience, Infecting The City, Cape Town World Music Festival and Cape Town International Jazz Festival ...

A number of smaller community based events also receive support from the City in the form of either a financial injection or City services, e.g. DSTV Mitchells Plain Festival, Winelands Music Festival and Durbanville Winter Festival.

The economic spin-offs from these events benefit the city and its residents.   Not only do these large events contribute to local coffers - the global media exposure for the Mother City is phenomenal.

Using the following events as an example:  the Cape Town International Jazz Festival's economic injection is estimated to be over R500 million and the media value for the CTIJF is the equivalent of R159 million.  The Design Indaba contributes upwards of R300 million to the economy.

The City also supports the Suidoosterfees that showcases a feast of music, culture, drama, comedy, song and dance. Most festivals serve as a launch-pad for up and coming artists by promoting local talent, cultural diversity and helps build cohesive communities.

But, it's not always about the economic injection.  Other benefits of hosting successful events/festivals include promoting the City's image as a tourism destination through events marketing and media coverage, providing business and cultural development benefits, and producing desirable social benefits. 

A study conducted by the National Department of Arts and Culture in 2015 shows that the Cultural and Creative Industries sector in the Western Cape contributes between R30 billion and  R35 billion in turnover per annum, and contributes between R14,7 billion and R17,4 billion to the economy per annum. The Creative Industries sector in the Western Cape employs between 38 000 and 45 000 individuals which accounts for between 1.70% and 2.01% of employment in the province. 

The first economic impact research of its kind, the DAC report provides solid evidence for the economic value of the cultural and creative industries in the Western Cape.

South African Department of Arts and Culture: Creative Economy Report 2015

City of Cape Town information















South African Jazz has an international appeal and forms part of a universal archive of self expression. The work of great international artists continues to have a massive impact.

Courtesy British Airways I travelled to the North Sea Jazz festival in Den Hague during the European summer of 1999. There I enjoyed the unique Cape Dutch collaboration between ESP Afrika and Mojo. A South African contingent, highlighted by the late Moses Molelekwa, performed at this international festival, and confirmed any rumours that South Africa was ready to popularise its status as a world jazz capital.

The North Sea Jazz festival was then to co sponsor a “sister” initiative in Cape Town commencing April 1 st 2000. The festival took the venue The Good Hope Centre and in the space of three years expanded to the newly built international conference centre, where it has enjoyed its home ever since using the slogan 'the grandest gathering in Africa,' receiving 32 000 visitors to the 2010 festival. After this incubation period the North Sea Jazz festival committee was to leave its “sister” initiative. The City of Cape Town got involved with this grand gathering and the festival was rebranded as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Jazz music is the light that draws cultural and jazz enthusiasts, tourists and visitors to Cape Town . Jazz liberates one in whatever way we choose, taking the listener on a soul journey or a rhythmical dance, relaxation or meditation.

For the first time South African jazz artists and international artists could meet together and find their similarities. In April 2000 Cape Town, Moses met his long-time role model Herbie Hancock. Moses said: “It was like a new beginning. I grew up listening to and playing Herbie Hancock's music, he is one of my greatest inspirations. When we hooked up, we didn't swap chords or talk music, we ended up meditating for an hour. It was just an amazing, beautiful connection.”

The North Sea Jazz festival in Cape Town took its place in history. Big acts, small acts, progressive, retro, introspective, world, kwaito, hip-hop, bebop, funk, and free the Cape Town Jazz festival was at once one great jazz bash. An overwhelming variety of names, wonderful musicians, profound performances and thrilling showmanship came together on four stages over two nights.

What ever your style, what ever your pleasure, this festival is the bomb because there is constantly music —African Brazilian, American or European —evolving, transforming and uniting styles, genres, grooves and rhythms.

At first the large and vacuous Good Hope Centre (once labelled a white elephant) was transformed into a wonderful and vibrant refuge for the simultaneous and bewildering bombardment of the greatest jazz music in the world. The perfect excess and aural indulgence for a jazz lover is a festival.

Running 4 stages simultaneously, this festival became a marvellous collective harmony as beautiful music continued to rise whimsically from each and every stage, each and every year and people drifted around sharing passing chords and riffs with these acts, enjoying as many as they could juggle on the same night.

The vacuum that had previously plagued the South African live music scene quickly dissipated and was forgotten as an enormous variety and disparity of people came together and got their groove back, and their groove down. And the jazz audience got a profound and important education in jazz quality.

Having some of the most famous and skilful international acts on the stage together with a collection of South Africa's wisest, finest and freshest was a wonderful opportunity to take note and realise that the local guys are just as hot as the international artists.

Music is not about genres like kwaito, hip-hop or bebop; it transcends all of that. It comes down to whether it's good music or bad music and that is what audiences should demand.

No longer need we compare ourselves to the international waters. No longer need we spend years making it in New York, Paris or London to be accepted as good and no longer need we sell out our original and traditional musical flavours, for it is obvious; some of the greatest artists in the world are from South Africa. We have the stars, the talent and the ability. And Cape Town is a jazz capital as legendary as New York, Paris and London.

Together with these superb musicians and the solid and collective audience, the North Sea Jazz festival (which is going to become an annual event in Cape Town) is a positively exciting indication that South Africa is ready to reclaim its position as leaders in the international jazz arena. In the space of its first three years the festival expanded to the newly built international conference centre, where it has enjoyed its home ever since. After this incubation period Mojo and ESP Afrika were to part ways and the City of Cape Town provided support and the festival continued on its own local legs, rebranded as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Jazz music is a light that draws cultural and jazz enthusiasts, tourists and visitors to Cape Town. Jazz liberates one in every way, taking the listener on a soul journey.

The jazz festival is very famous for its after parties. We have all enjoyed a lot of dancing good times where musicians have found the freedom to let go and 'cook' on their instruments. Spencer Mbadu was possessed by the bass when he played with SpyroGryo and at the 2010 after party it was marvellous to witness Uncle Joe ‘Busker” Peterson at the late night jam session, on a small make shift stage that had already seen George Benson singing ‘Summertime'. Uncle Joe's friendship and musical collaboration with Bilal at 6am at the Pepper Club transformed Fela Kuti's ‘African Women' into something that we had never heard before. Uncle Joe was not used to singing with a microphone let alone two on a microphone, yet Bilal's pure strength made it so. Then a gentleman arrived on stage and played the delicate mouth vibration instrument known as Jews Harp. He shared the other microphone with a powerhouse American horn section of trumpet and trombone. The passion of the musicians and the music resonated throughout the crowd. The energy was electric.

Bilal got a bit of his own back when Rachelle Ferrel called him onto stage the following day on the main stage of the festival in front of 30 000 people. All he could say and sing was 'I love you!'

I have heard so much good music at the Cape Town Jazz festival that this event has merely affirmed my love of jazz festivals. When Rachelle Ferrel called Bilal onto stage with her to "collaborate," all he could say and sing was 'I love you!' Louis Moholo's performance with the ‘Dedication orchestra’ was filled with the spirit of Love. The trumpeters Hugh Masakela and Roy Hargroves shared a stage, saxophonists Zim Nqqwana and Yusuf Latief shared a stage. When the New Cool Collective dressed in their tuxedo's, Robbie Jansen wore his shorts. The pioneering songstresses Abbey Lincoln, Sathima Bea Benjamin, Sylvia Mdunyelwa and Sibongile Khumalo and the late and beloved Winston Mankunku all left an indelible impression. In 2000, the plane carrying Carlo Mombelli and the Prisoners of Strange was landlocked in Joburg, yet he and the band still put on a powerful performance well after midnight. At this event, some may have seen Tananas for the last time and Lonnie Liston Smith for the first time. We have been rocked some times before with the African music of Busi Mhlongo and Femi Kuti et al. Even the shooting star of Simpiwe Dana sung alongside Cesaria Evora one year. In 2010, festival director Rashid Lombard launched his photographic journal “Jazz Rocks.” The launch was in honour of Winston Mankunku.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Interview Rashid Lombard

What inspired you to start the festival?

With isolation of South Africa during the 1970' and 1980's there was this hunger to see international musicians perform in South Africa in a festival atmosphere that bring people of all persuasions  together. The vision was simply to create a festival of international standard where the best of the rest of the world are combined with the best of South Africa and Africa.  Combining European expertise in presentation of a jazz festival of this nature and the African expertise in networking, building on relations and creating community.  The vision of the festival was articulated in the way that it was clear that the festival was intended to bring together music lovers from all over the country and indeed all over the world to participate communally in their love of the art form in the humbling province of the Western Cape.  In a sense the vision of the festival was used as a metaphor for what South Africa and the Western Cape could be:  in harmony with itself and at harmony with the world. 

How have the music festivals become part of the tourism industry?

Music festivals are a cornerstone of the visitor economy and make the host City a highly desirable place to live and work. So a festival creates and sees repeat visitors who don't have to be “sold” on visiting a city they already have a good reason to visit and do so each year. Destinations offer promises of experiences, emotions and endless possibilities for pleasure abound. Some destinations sparkle, some are magical, some are breath-taking and some are simply incredible. Festivals extend a unique and unmatched invitation to the world's travelers to bring to life the energy, engagement and emotion of a destination. And encouragingly, the economic research also indicates that the quantifiable benefits of a festival extend beyond the city's metropolitan and provincial boundaries to the country as a whole. Festivals offer a destination the opportunity to achieve a number of strategic imperatives central to tourism and economic growth and development.  Technically, these exist within most Economic Development plans worldwide.

How have the music festivals become a business?

Research by The Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES ) at North West University to date confirms that when it comes to “economic growth” this is something that stretches from the street hawker through the spending patterns of the visitors. They found that festinos (as attendees are called) spend most of their money on flights, accommodation, followed by food and restaurants, and transport to the festival. There is sense that money is being spent and such trickles all the way to the street. The creative economy has the potential to be a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade as is the case in many advanced economies.

How do you build festival numbers?

A visitor needs to feel and gain confidence that the ‘programmers' know what they are doing, that they know their audience and know their music and    culture. There is no real way to ‘test' this other than doing it. Sensibility and sensitivity are required as the ‘programmers' also have to build the      confidence amongst artists,   managers and agents of a solid and trusted reputation. I have always regarded the talent and the presentation and programming of the talent, as cornerstones of a solid festival.

What role does the private and public sector play in growing the creative economy?

Economic growth really occurs when the private and public sectors take “ownership” of the opportunity provided by the producer and promoter…………and by doing so extend and sustain the music festival….for good and great reason.

When developers and others start to invest in infrastructure partially or wholly motivated by a festival, real long term economic growth has been initiated.

What innovations are you offering festivals through your experience and consultations?

My plans which centre around a new family consulting business, Rashid Lombard Inc (PTY) Ltd, speaks to the deployment of the collective skill, network     and experience we have in respect of integrating culture in society through sustainable arts and culture design, programming, government relations,   training and development. I will also do some motivational speaking here and there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview Theo Van den Hoek

I got involved in the entertainment industry in 1968 which is a long time ago. I started working for a Dutch promoter called Paul Acket. At first I started promoting rock concerts and in the late 70's we started organising the North Sea Jazz festival in The Hague in Netherlands. The first edition was in 1976. I was Paul's assistant and when he died '92 I became the CEO of the festival and in 1998 I met Rashid in The Hague and he started talking to me and he said I would love to organise a jazz festival in Cape Town. He asked me if I could help him. I said it would be a pleasure and I said it is important to know that to organise an event like the North Sea Jazz you need support from the government, you need support from sponsors. If you can make appointments within a week period with important potential sponsors and government people so we can see if there is a financial support for a festival in Cape Town, I am willing to come over to Cape Town to talk to potential sponsors and government people and explain what the festival would be for Cape Town, the impact it would have. Two months later Rashid sent me a fax with an itinerary of who we would be meeting that week. So I went to Cape Town. We had meetings with all these people. We went to look for a venue and he brought me to the Good Hope Centre. And walking through the Good Hope Centre I saw potential for a festival there. The first edition was in 2000 and in between I went up and down to Cape Town helping organise. And Rashid came to Cape Town and stayed a few weeks to see how our offices were run. What you needed to organise an event like that, sponsoring, security, sound systems, logistics, etc, etc. We had the first edition which in my opinion was quite successful for a first edition. We continued and made it better every time. The last time we organised it together was 2005 which was the first edition in the new venue. And then he could organise it with his team and he didn't need us anymore. We also had the Dutch government in the first few years helping financially to put the event up and I was very pleased that we were involved in bringing the jazz music back to South Africa. That was the theme. Even talking to artists, they felt the same. It is a long way from LA to NY to fly to CT for one festival. For instance in Europe they do 15 festivals. This CT event was do one performance and go back again. What we did to make it interesting for the artists is they arrive a day earlier and take a tour of Cape Town and then do the performance and then three days later you return. That worked very well. The festival is one of the biggest in SA which makes me proud and Rashid must be very proud. It has been almost 10 years since I was in CT for the last time.

Are you still involved with music festivals?

I was up until two years ago as an advisor. I did something in St Petersburg Russia in 2006 and 7. In 2008 we had this economic crash in Europe and US so it was very hard for people to start new events. I said I had had my time and I want to return and enjoy the nice things in life. The company is sleeping.

What are the impact of festivals?

First of all an economic impact. Hotels are fully booked, restaurants are fully booked. 70 000 people come to eth festival over 3 days. People are traveling and spending money. There was a survey which proved that a lot of money was spent in the three days of the festival. A lot of tourists from US, all over Europe and Japan come for the festival. The North Sea in Rotterdam now has a big impact for the city , putting the city on the map, which I assume is the same for Cape Town. People asked me why you didn't go to JHB, why did you go to CT. Because CT is a touristic city, a beautiful city on the sea, lots of nice hotels, good restaurants. It has a big impact on tourists. I am sure a lot of people from several countries go to the CT event.

Festival circuit in Europe, but what about SA?

For me it is a little bit hard to answer. I was hoping that there would be other countries in Africa who would pick up the possibilities of organising the festival as the artists are in Africa for the CT jazz fest. So far nobody in Africa has stood up to say in our city or country we would also like to organise a festival in the same period CT is doing. I know he was trying in Angola but I don't know if it ever happened. So far, it is just CT. Maybe the organisers should look at another city in SA like Durban which is far away enough not to hurt the festival in CT. In Europe if you take for instance, festivals in France and Belgium are only a few hundred kilometres from the North Sea. There must be a group of potential jazz lovers in places like Durban or wherever in SA.

It is very important you take your visitor very seriously. And make sure the sound is good at the venues, that you have excellent food. The people in Europe and CT as well don't mind paying a certain entrance fee but they do expect to have a certain luxury at the festival. Take the visitors at the festival very seriously and treat them as your guest.

I left the North Sea Jazz festival in 2006, it has been a while. I don't know what they have done in the last couple of years. The thing for me that is very important is that you take the visitor very seriously. I am also assuming that they are getting electricity via other means, sun and wind and that kind of new ways of getting your energy which you need for a festival.

What makes a person to become a festival director?

I always say first of all you must have a passion for music, but in my opinion do not be a musician because you need next to a passion for music you should have a good business view and you should programme not music you just like but music that is good for the festival. If you are into a certain type of music and you are a musician you might make the mistake of only booking that type of artist and not thinking of your guest that is coming to the festival. You need sponsors to organise a festival. If a sponsor gives you money you must make sure that the sponsor is happy and he wants to continue sponsoring your event. You must have a network in government, like the North Sea in Holland still gets money from the city of Rotterdam, just because of the fact that so many people come to Rotterdam spending their money. That is the combination that is important you must have a good heart for music and a good head for business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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