Viva Jazz Viva – Africa’s grandest gathering is now 15

South Africa’s largest live music festival, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) celebrates its 15th year when it takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), in March 28-29, 2014. In this commemorative year, the festival will bring together the best local and international artists from the past 15 years.

Referred to as ‘Africa’s Grandest Gathering’, nearly 60 000 people attended the CTIJF events, free concerts and workshops in 2013. The CTIJF is also billed as the biggest jazz music event in Africa and ranks in the top five best jazz events in the world. More than just the best music and entertainment festival on the continent, CTIJF offers a sophisticated and comprehensive programme that will ensure the legacy of the festival. This programme encompasses a number of different workshops and interventions – everything from talent development to event management training – and continues throughout the year and makes music important, particularly for young South Africans.

CEO of espAfrika, which organises the CTIJF, and Festival Director, Rashid Lombard says the next edition is going to be very special. “Fifteen years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the festival would have such a massive impact. It’s got its own beat now – and we just love the fact that we are able to keep giving people what they want and to promote jazz and jazz related as a music genre in this country. Surprisingly, jazz is much bigger than people think – it really does have broad appeal as evidenced by the growing ticket sales.”

In fact, South Africa’s live music industry is not very old in the grander scheme of things – only approaching two decades. To have grown so significantly in this time and under increasingly more strenuous economic conditions is yet another reason to celebrate.

One more is that the CTIJF as a 15 year old veteran has also led the way in terms of producing world class live entertainment experiences. While it provides a platform for new and exciting talent, behind the scenes, espAfrika is also sharing its technical experience and helping to shape South Africa as a premier destination for touring international artists. In contributing to the development of highly skilled and professional technical production industry, espAfrika is taking its learnings on the road and sharing this experience with neighbouring African countries as jazz especially ignites interest in live music shows and festivals across the continent.

Continuing to support the power that music has to be a sustainable business contributing to the economy and to overcome all manner of life’s challenges, Patricia De Lille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town confirmed: “This musical celebration (CTIJF) epitomises what this administration aims to do in building an inclusive city by bringing together people from diverse backgrounds throughout the city and the rest of the country to enjoy the musical talents of local artists and renowned international superstars. The City will continue to support this festival to promote the heritage of jazz music and ensure that it continues to attract large crowds.”

Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr. Paul Mashatile says: “The Cape Town International Jazz Festival continues to provide audiences with an array of the best international and local music, which helps give our artists exposure and unlocks further opportunities for them. The CTIJF also contributes to providing a larger skills base in the creative sector which helps strengthen our sector’s contribution to the economy, by creating much needed work opportunities and the building of sustainable livelihoods.”

And on that note – for reaching 15 years – Viva Jazz Viva!

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