United Colours of Africa

Festival Economy



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Cape Town International Jazz Festival ... the jewel in Cape Towns crown


SPECIAL FEATURE : The Cape Town International Festival is an ever growing event with enormous economic impact, and a sustainable training and development platform.


Cape Town Visitors Economy :

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.

Today, the festival is a cornerstone of the Cape Town visitor economy, combining the existing hospitality services and natural beauty of the city with the skills transfer and social cohesion of the festival.

Current CTIJF Festival Director, and espAfrika COO Billy Domingo explains, “Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a destination like the New Orleans Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival. People come to Cape Town to see the festival, but they also come to see the rest of the facilities, so it's a win-win.”

The host city works together closely with the festival to implement changes that make the city more event-friendly, thereby growing its' international reputation as a “creative city.”

The water crisis in Cape Town will add a unique challenge to the festival's upcoming 19 th edition . “This has changed the base of the festival,” explained Domingo. “ We have now adapted and developed a strategy that speaks to not only saving water but changing the landscape of future events.”

The event is internationally recognised and aims to provide a luxurious experience for a diverse audience. Excellent sound and lighting in the venues, together with a world-class approach to programming has given the festival its affectionate title:“Africa's Grandest Gathering.”

Domingo explains: “We embrace the different genres of music from the African continent. From Morocco to Ethiopia to Mozambique – the whole of the African continent has become our playground in the sense that we have so much to choose from. We all sing from the same hymn sheet and play from the same drum.” 

The festival has grown from 5000 music lovers in the opening year to 37 000 in 2017. The quantifiable benefits of the festival extend beyond the city's metropolitan and provincial boundaries to the country as a whole. The economic impact of the festival is overR500 Million and this economic impact trickles all the way to the street, with 3000 new jobs created annually .

“Every year people depend on us for their livelihood. We have a moral obligation to maintain this event, if not expand,” said Domingo.

CTIJF Training and Development

"The role of the festival is very important because they have other programs linked to the festival. Camillo has a music school and they have been looking after his vision for development. Some of his students are always performing at the festival. More than festival on a tool of income generation it has got an educational and development mandate. Also the musicians that come from the US and Europe, they give a workshop. It is very important in giving to the Cape Town community and South Africa at large," Nduduzo Makhatini.

Since its inception, the CTIJF has provided support and resources and a rich learning context for students, audience and young musicians alike. Throughtraining, development and schools programmes, a diversity of skills and career possibilities for young people across all aspects of the creative industries have been nurtured.

“The festival provides the Pan-African creative industry with an opportunity to come together, acquire improved skills and knowledge about South African jazz and event production, and build professional links,” explained founder of the Arts Journalism course Gwen Ansel.

Music and Careers workshops empower high school students with event production, artist management, lighting and sound expertise. Students are mentored by the professional events crew, with the most talented students, shadowing professionals over the course of the event. The success of the programme has resulted in graduates joining the festival team.

A week-long workshop programme provides Master Classes, mentorship and upliftment for musicians and performers. uMculoWamis a new CSI (Corporate Social Investment) initiative bringing m usic education to Athlone and Langa.

The SekunjaloEdujazz Band plays a key role in inspiring music development on the Cape Flats andwill open the festival on Friday. The espYoungLegends online competition was won by pop-style singer and songwriter, Jarrad Ricketts. He and the Settlers High-school big bandfrom Bellville are afforded slots on the programme.

Domingo said, “We are looking to the future of the entertainment industry in South Africa.”

Visiting international musiciansconduct master classes during the mornings of the festival weekend extending the development impact beyond the Cape Town community to South Africa at large. There are successful photography and business courses. Arts Journalism has trained 243 students in the last 16 years, many of whom have gone on to professional careers.

Ansel said, “We've democratised the skills and expertise and made them self-sustaining, and created an innovative training model where control can shift over time, reflecting the country's demographics and keeping up with changing technology trends in the industry.”

Brief History of the festival:

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 with Clarence Frod, esp brought the North Sea Jazz Festival to Cape Town. In 2005 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.

In 1999 esp hosted a South African stage at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland. By combining European expertise in presentation of a jazz festival and African expertise in networking, building on relations and creating community, a sister North Sea Jazz Festival was launched in Cape Town in 2000.

“With the isolation of South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, there was always a hunger to see international musicians perform in a festival atmosphere that brings people of all persuasions together,” recalled Lombard.



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