How it started? Azgo Festival was founded in 2011 by Paulo Chibanga, who was returning home to Maputo after living in South Africa for over a decade as a musician with Tumi & the Volume and 340ml and as a producer for Thandiswa Mazwai, The Brother Moves On, Bongeziwe Mabandla & Simpiwe Dana. The first year of Azgo Festival was set in small music venues in Mafalala – which was the heart of the Independence movement of Mozambique featuring 15+ artists from Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. From its inception Azgo has brought together a diverse and quality program of music, film, and dance to the city of Maputo. Whilst other Festivals in Mozambique are genre specific, Azgo is a contemporary celebration of arts and culture, programming all genres of music. The festival serves as a platform for emerging and acclaimed artists to collaborate and meet a new audience. The name “Azgo” is old slang from Maputo to say “let´s go”, let's revisit our cultures and heritage, “let´s go” promote cultural diversity, “let's go” promote the arts and culture, Let´s Go… The 7th edition of Azgo Festival will take place in Maputo on the 19th and 20th of May 2017.
How it has grown? Azgo has grown each year from 2011; the first year audience was under 1,000 across the duration of the festival and in 2016 the festival hosted over 5,000 people. Azgo is now known around the continent and the globe as the finest international arts festival in Mozambique and one of the best festivals on the continent. Azgo Festival is part of the African Music Festival Network (AMFN) and a founding member of Igoda the Southern African Music Festivals Circuit, which encompasses Bassline Africa Day (South Africa), Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), Sakifo (Reunion Island), and Zakifo (South Africa). Azgo Festival has also formed key partnerships with International organisations to bring artists from Brasil, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States of America to the festival. In doing so we are creating new opportunities for exchange between national and international artists through workshops and collaborations.
How it contributes to the development of Mozambican music? Azgo contributes to the development of the Mozambican music scene in many ways including: Over 50% of the artists programmed each year are Mozambican, from all genres of music; Producing a world class festival with quality sound, on time performances, Providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for the audience including families; Employing 100% Mozambican contractors, suppliers and staff;
In addition to our diverse music, film and dance program, Azgo hosts a dialogue and workshop program called Azgo Dialogar : focusing on arts and cultural management. Azgo Dialogar runs workshops with international and national artists, managers and event producers. These workshops are a platform for; artistic and cultural development, music exchange between local and international artists, promotion of Mozambican cultural heritage and artistic life, and opportunities for the professionalization of the music industry in Mozambique.
Secondly, Azgo Festival recognizes the importance of involving children in the arts from an early age; we have a dedicated Kids Zone and Schools Festival called Azgozito . Which aims to inspire young and creative minds. We engage musicians performing Azgo Festival and visual artists from Mozambique to create a fun and enjoyable environment at our dedicated Kids Zone and Schools Festival with the objective of inspiring young and creative minds with various presentations and interactive competitions.
Finally, Azgo Festival hosts a Battle of the Bands event each year seeking to promote emerging Mozambican artists. By creating a platform for these emerging artists to perform as part of the Battle of the Bands, Azgo aims to nurture this talent, which hopefully will lead to professional recordings and increased exposure for the band within Mozambique and the region. The winning band gets the opportunity to perform the festival and access to one to one mentoring with the team behind Azgo.
How it contributes to the cultural tourism and the creative contribution? Azgo Festival is a founding member of Igoda the Southern African Music Festivals Circuit, which encompasses Bassline Africa Day (South Africa), Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), Zakifo (South Africa) and Sakifo (Reunion Island). Igoda is an exciting development both for local and international artists, festival professionals and music fans from Southern Africa and across the world. The circuit presents an incredible opportunity for artists and fans to travel across Southern Africa, celebrating music and participating and strengthening the regions's interconnected creative economies.
For every $1 dollar of the Azgo Festival budget, the Mozambique economy benefits $5. The direct cultural economic impact of Azgo Festival can be seen: Tourists hosted in Mozambique 500 (10% of overall audience of 5,000); Over 210 performers on stage; Over 9 different African countries represented; Over 320 employees, of which 40% are women and 30% are youth; Approximately economic impact of USD$950,000.