Jazz music lovers are gearing up for the trek to the pristine Cape Columbine Nature Reserve’s Tietiesbaai beach, just outside Paternoster, for the 2015 Jazz on the Rocks outdoor music festival from Thursday, 26 February to Sunday, 1 March 2015.
Established in 2004 by Heart 104.9 FM’s Clarence Ford, Jazz on the Rocks is an outdoor jazz music festival. The stage is built on the rocks in the sea, with the best vantage points from the water itself. The seaside jazz festival is all about the music and showcases some of South Africa’s best loved and up-and-coming performers as well as a handful of international acts.
This year, the festival is headlined by a string of big names from abroad, namely world-class bassist Gerald Veasley (USA), award-winning New Zealand band Ardijah, American diva and singer P.P. Arnold, singing sensation Angela Ricci (UK) and, of course, festival regular Andrew Young (aka the saxophone prince). The local contingent includes performers like N2, Zami Mdingi, The Rockets, Alistair Izobell and many more.
This year will be the first time that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) partners with the festival, where DCAS will assist from an artistic and cultural perspective. DCAS has identified young people to shadow the festival organisers in lighting, sound, logistics, stage and festival management.
These 10 young people, who have all matriculated, have been part of the 2015 leg of the festival since the beginning of the festival planning; from when the stage was built right up until the festival closes on 1 March. They are all from the West Coast towns Saldanha Bay, Vredenburg and Langebaan, and are attached to arts organisations within their respective communities, which are funded by DCAS.
The Vredenburg Steelband and Riebeeck-Kasteel Steelband will perform at the festival on Saturday. These two Steelband Programmes form part of the broader music development programme in the West Coast which aims to provide strong music education and create a vibrant arts and culture environment within communities. DCAS supports initiatives that will help boost live music performances, provide further training for young musicians and provide employment for artists.
“It is important that we expose the young people in our programmes and communities to various aspects of the music industry,” said William Masemola, Cultural Officer at DCAS. “The skill and the knowledge of working at this festival, whether behind the scenes or performing live, will certainly put any young aspiring artist in good stead in their respective artistic careers.”
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Theuns Botha, said he was very excited about the support for the development of the jazz musicians in this area. “The festival is an opportunity for developing artists, and also festival organisers, to learn the tricks of the trade. I will be following the growth of the music scene here with a keen eye, and want to encourage the young people to use the opportunity to learn the skills, and think of ways and means to capitalize on this opportunity to create an income, or start a new venture.”
DCAS provides opportunities for young artists to gain experience in working at events such as this one. Communities should encourage their young people to get involved in these events. Let us grow and nurture our artistic talent BETTER TOGETHER.