Jazz Festival boosts local arts sector

Jazz Festival boosts local arts sector

The National Department of Arts and Culture, the City of Cape Town, and Cape Town International Jazz Festival organiser espAfrika have joined forces to ensure development in the arts is taken seriously.
While the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s benefit to the South African economy is now well recognised – last year it contributed R498 million to the Western Cape economy and created 2700 jobs – it also has an important impact on arts and culture.

Each year the event hosts a series of workshops and programmes aimed at transferring knowledge and skills. These development events are held during the build-up to the festival over an eight day period. They take place at venues in the CBD and greater Cape Town area.
“Giving back to the community and the music community in particular is an important aspect of the festival,” says Rashid Lombard, Festival Director and CEO of espAfrika. “The development programme that runs alongside the festival provides a unique opportunity to exchange industry knowledge and ideas. It brings together sector experts and industry people thirsty to learn more.”

One of the most fitting examples of knowledge transfer in the Cape Town International Jazz Festival development programme is the Arts and Culture Focus Schools initiative. The Western Cape Education Department uses the Cape Town International Jazz Festival to showcase 10 of their music focus schools, while at the same time allowing industry professionals the opportunity to mentor and train students to prepare them for the real world of the music industry. Twenty passionate students have been attending these focus school workshops between that run until March at The Fugard Theatre in Caledon Street. Emphasis is placed on skills development, stage etiquette and musical appreciation, from both a musical and production perspective. A Berklee College of Music scholarship is available for one of the students taking part – a Berklee College representative will select the student.

On March 3 and 10 espAfrika ran an Arts and Culture School’s Skills Development Programme with assistance from the Cape Town Convention Centre. On March 24 and 25 these programmes will move to the Athol Fugard Theatre. These workshops will be hosted by industry specialists Sharif Baker and Craig Parks. The programmes will introduce students to the basic requirements of event and production management.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn from, and shadow, qualified events crew at specified events over the festival period.

On March 30 and 31 the Music Business Workshop and Jazz and Urban Music Master Classes will take place at the Fugard Theatre. These workshops will be conducted by respected music industry stalwarts including Graeme Gilfillan and Don Gorder of Berklee College and will cover business operations, event production, royalties and the latest trends in the music industry. The music master classes will be presented by some of the top jazz and urban musicians performing at the festival – these include Mike Stern, David Sanchez, Third World, Atmosphere, Allen Stone, Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monche. The classes will provide first-hand insight into what life is like in the industry and what it takes to entertain people and sell albums all over the world.

The Berklee Office of International Programmes – back this year after a one year hiatus – will co-host workshops at the Fugard Theatre on March 30. These workshops are open to the public. Berklee College and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival will provide an array of industry experts in performance, music improvisation and composition, who appeal to a larger audience of students. The Intyholo Jazz Development Workshop, hosted by the Food and Allied Workers Union, forms part of this programme and takes place on March 29.

On March 26 and 27 the members of the Berklee Office of Admissions will host auditions and interviews at The Fugard Theatre for students and musicians who want to attend the esteemed college of music. Prospective candidates can visit http://berklee.edu/apply/ and fill out an application form in order to be considered for an interview.

* For more information visit www.capetownjazzfest.com.