Dear Soweto International Jazz Festival supporters, artists and partners,
It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce the full cancellation of this year’s Soweto International Jazz Festival (SIJF).
Due to logistical delays, we could not get the permission needed from The Joint Operations Committee. We have always been committed to ensure that all our events are safe and we remain committed to ensure we always comply with all by-laws and City regulations. We have been advised by our attorneys that we have legal grounds to pursue this matter further and we will rigorously defend all our legal rights in the coming days.
The SIJF team had worked diligently over the course of eleven months to ensure we delivered a world class festival and give everyone the best possible experience.
Our team worked extremely hard to meet this momentous task and to ensure all the rigorous standards were in place. Unfortunately, due to matters out of our control we don’t believe that goal can be accomplished right now.
By bringing this unique international offering to Soweto, we had hoped to give the Soweto community and the South African community at large a world-class event that not only entertains, but also empowers and uplifts the community. Events of this nature also provide employment opportunities, albeit only temporary, but local vendors and suppliers would have benefitted a great deal from this weekend’s festivities. It pains us that they are being denied these opportunities due to this cancellation.
“We deeply regret the loss of the economic impact this festival was due to have on the local community. We privately invested close to R15 million. The festival was due to employ 150 local musicians and 300 local suppliers. All our suppliers were from Soweto to a cost of R4,5million (security, cleaning staff, fencing staff, stage, sound, catering services plus many more.) We had 22 vendors set up which included food, arts and craft. We also had an event mentorship management programme which had engaged with 50 students from Soweto Skills Academy,” said Nolan Baynes, General Manager of International Arts Solutions (IAC).
We had also hoped that the festival was able to serve as a platform for local and international artists to collaborate and we remain committed to ensuring this happens. All our international artists are already in South Africa, including Charlie Wilson, Deborah Cox, Neville Brothers, Bob James, Rico Love, Gordon Chambers plus many more.
International soul singer Deborah Cox said “I am extremely disheartened that the festival was not allowed to happen. I was looking forward to performing for the amazing people of Soweto and Jozi.”
Local jazz artist Ernie Smith says “I am very disappointed at the lost opportunities for us, my community and fellow artists.”
Everyone who bought tickets for Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17thJune concerts will be given full refunds via Webtickets and this process has already begun.
We sincerely apologize this announcement took so long, but we wanted to make sure we had exhausted all the options to make this festival possible before we made the final and very difficult decision to cancel. We sincerely hope to bring this amazing concept back in 2019.