Jazz festival turns Sweet 16 this year

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Now in its 16th year, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has been a stage right here in the Mother City for the world’s biggest music stars over the years.

American divas like rapper-singer Lauryn Hill and singer Erykah Badu have entertained audiences at this event dubbed “Africa’s grandest gathering”.

Then there was the legendary singer Omara Portuondo with the rest of the Buena Vista Social Club that transported fans to their native Cuba with song and irresistible dance.

The Rainmakers will perform at this year's Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture Supplied

The Rainmakers will perform at this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture Supplied

Over the years, the festival has also pulled in top stars from other music genres, including American hip hop stars such as Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def.

This was doubtless a move to attract a wider audience and grow the two-night festival.

While music has remained the festival’s core focus, it has incorporated a photo exhibition, music journalism workshop and music development for young people.

A fashion show and gala dinner has also recently been held the night before the festival roars at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. This fashion show aims to encourage locals to wear South African clothing brands.

The event has grown more than tenfold from its original 3,000 crowd at the Good Hope Centre to the current site.

Another precursor to the main stage events is the free community concert at Greenmarket Square. On March 25, Courtney Pine and Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse will headline this concert. Free trains on certain lines will be available to transport locals to the city for the concert.

Festival organisers said their aim was to “create a space where an appreciation for good music and a great experience is shared and enjoyed by all who attend, no matter who they are or where they come from”.

This year’s line-up includes musicians and bands from various countries, including the United States, Poland, UK, India, Switzerland and South Africa.


About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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