The Herald (Harare)

8 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Thumbs-Up to Winter Jazz Festival, but . . .

DURING the just-ended Winter Jazz Festival, Josh Hozheri, the founder and organiser of the event, made a very interesting statement. "With or without promoters, the Winter Jazz Festival will go on," he said.

While this shows total commitment to the festival as well as the jazz genre, what Hozheri should have kept in mind is that for a festival of that magnitude, one needs as much sponsorship as possible to give it the weight it deserves.

This probably explains why there was only one visiting artiste, Max Vidima, who is based in South Africa at the festival.

Hozheri, who has been to the renowned Cape Town Jazz Festival in South Africa before, must have realised the importance of having as many sponsors as possible because it has become one of the biggest and most successful jazz fetes on the continent.

With more sponsors, it is possible for organisers to attract a number of big names to grace the event since there will be adequate funds to pay for their air tickets, accommodation and appearance fees.

This is the reason why Hifa manages to become an international event that attracts some of the best acts from different corners of the globe.

This is also another reason why the Harare Gardens -- the venue of the arts fete -- for that week-long period, becomes synonymous with the names of big corporate companies.

Telecel Main Stage, Coca-Cola Green, Standard Theatre, to name just a few, tell the kind of role that sponsors play in keeping the event running smoothly.

And just like what Hifa does, the Winter Jazz Festival can also be decentralised to various other venues where people of all walks of life can have a chance to watch performances by both local and foreign artistes rather than confining the event to one place.

While Jazz 105 is not a bad venue at all, it is, wise to take the festival to places like Mbare (Netball Complex) for instance) the place where the jazz group Mbare Trio hails from.

This accords people from Mbare an opportunity to celebrate their own and this can be enhanced by roping in some of the crowd pullers in the country in order to sell the show.

To many people, Jazz 105 is like an elite venue where some people cannot afford to attend hence it would also be ideal to take it to First Street for at least a free concert which gives people an idea of what the event is all about.

The only way to achieve this is to start planning now for the next Winter Jazz Festival and make it bigger and better than this year's edition.

Otherwise, a big thumbs up to the festival organisers.

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