Some of the Western Cape’s most talented musicians and singers will take to the stage at the V&A Waterfront amphitheatre this weekend, after the 22nd annual Jazzathon was officially opened on Thursday, 10 January 2019.
The event sees up-and-coming artists share a platform with the province’s most renowned musicians in four consecutive days of performances, in what has become one of the highlights of the Cape Town musical events calendar.
Thursday’s opening was also the culmination of several months of talent identification and training workshops which were hosted by the event organisers around the province, and many of those young artists will perform before the Jazzathon comes to a close on Sunday evening.
Guy Redman, Chief Director of Cultural Affairs, said that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) has chosen to support the event to help grow the local music industry.
“This is a very special initiative… and it’s all the result of committed people, who love the arts and want it to grow. One of the key elements of this programme that we’re trying to emphasise is the relationship between the artists and the audiences, because if they do not have the necessary audiences then nobody is buying their music,” he said.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between artists and the people who buy and listen to their music. We want to try and create that relationship. Some of the people who are involved behind the scenes also launched their careers on this stage and have been contributing their services free of charge to Jazzathon to see it grow.”
Around 80 percent of the music performed at the Jazzathon are original songs, while the rest are covers and rearrangements of songs from famous South African jazz musicians like Hugh Masekela.
On Thursday the event was opened by singer-songwriter, Dylan Red, who attended one of the workshops hosted by the organisers in September. The 20-year-old has been busking in and around the Waterfront since he matriculated, and has been able to fund his career with the proceeds.
“In December I formed a band to put together a clip to send to the organisers to show that we are ready, want to perform and have original music. On the Sunday before the event, I finally received the call that they would like me to open and I rushed to get everybody together.” Dylan said.
During January and possibly February, Dylan will also be performing at the Silo Hotel on Friday evenings, either at the Willaston Bar or the Rooftop Bar.
Performances at the Jazzathon will take place between 13:00 and 21:00 on Friday and Saturday, and 13:00 and 20:00 on Sunday.
The organisers of the event have also committed to empowering female performers, and Friday will feature an almost entirely female line-up in support of this goal.
Source: Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport