In tough economic times, jazz comes to the partyEspafrika
For the past 7 years, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has played to full houses and has contributed more than R2 billion to the Western Cape’s GDP.
In the jazz world playing to a packed club venue is a pretty good measure of success. But when economists start talking about a jazz event’s impact on the GDP, it’s another level of achievement entirely. For the past 7 years, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has played to full houses - no mean feat when capacity is 33 500 people. And according to research into the festival’s economic impact since 2009, the event has contributed more than R2 billion to the Western Cape’s GDP.
According to the latest research undertaken, the Western Cape economy enjoyed benefit to the value of R457 million in 2012. Nationally South Africa’s GDP saw benefit to the tune of R860 million. The study also indicates that many of the festinos who attend the festival return year after year. And as a direct result of the festival, jobs were created for 2 714 staff and numerous service providers, both short term and fulltime.
The Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES) at North West University, conducted research to determine the economic impact of the festival through the spending patterns of the visitors. They found that festinos travel to Cape Town mainly for the festival and spend most of their money on flights, accommodation, followed by food and restaurants, and transport to the festival.
Developing markets internationally are one of our focal points and therefore the strategic importance of a mega event like this cannot be overstated. The research shows an annual trend of visitors’ attendance from the US, UK, Canada, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, China, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Congo amongst others. Cultural tourism plays an important role in our host city.
Of course, this is all the more significant and surprising since the festival’s economic success actually bucks the generally negative trend within the global economy. And encouragingly, the economic research also indicates that the quantifiable benefits of the festival extend beyond the city’s metropolitan and provincial boundaries to the country as a whole.
The CTIJF has been a runaway success since the first festival in 2000 but it was when the event moved from the Good Hope Centre to the much larger CTICC that attendance figures surged.
espAfrika CEO and Festival Director Rashid Lombard says, “Thanks to the incredible support of our audiences, the festival has sold out in advance for a good few years now. And as festinos know, the CTICC just cannot accommodate more people at the moment. Fortunately plans are being finalised for expanding the venue’s capacity. And this means many more festinos will be able to join in Africa’s Grandest Gathering.”
The National Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashitile, who has been a gold sponsor of the event since its inception said “The economic benefits credited to the CTIJF, supports our efforts as the Department of Arts and Culture to reposition our sector. We strongly believe the creative industries can be a major driver of economic growth and job creation, as shown by this latest research. Initiatives that allow the creative industry to reach its full potential must therefore be encouraged and supported, not only for the financial rewards they bring but also for the contribution made toward skills development and social cohesion.”
This year, the festival has further expanded the highly popular workshops and master class programme. The practical courses in the business of music and event production were fully subscribed as were the courses in arts journalism. And it is this growing investment in the future of music and musicians that excites festival director Rashid Lombard as well.
“Year after year we see the young musicians who have come through the programmes taking part in the festival as onstage performers in their own right. The courses are now as much a part of the festival as the performances and that is how it should be. This is why the festival has been running as a 10-day event, in order to accommodate the numerous courses and workshops. The fact that the rewards are so tangible is a powerful incentive for young musicians to make the effort and enhance their skills. The results are there for everyone to see on stages in South Africa and abroad. Like any worthwhile profession, music takes serious dedication and there are no shortcuts. But, the opportunities are there for the taking.”
Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport notes that “Recent events in our country have highlighted the need for us to work much harder at building social inclusion and bringing down the barriers that keep us apart. We need cultural warmth. Former President Nelson Mandela exuded cultural warmth whenever he came into contact with others. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is much more than a major cultural tourism event. It is also an ambassador of cultural warmth as it creates the platform for people from across social, racial, cultural and regional divides to reach out to each other through the powerful medium of music. Through the sharing of our mutual appreciation for each other’s music and ultimately culture, real and imagined boundaries are broken down. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival certainly embraces the concept of cultural warmth and contributes to the building of social inclusion in the Western Cape.”
Along with opportunities for musicians, the festival’s media coverage offers a level of exposure rarely seen in a single event in South Africa. In fact, with 350 accredited journalists from 17 countries covering the festival, the event is global. espAfrika’s marketing efforts in collaboration with 10 publications, 8 channels and 9 radio stations has seen media recovery at R328million in 2012. And of course within the venue itself, the stimulating festival atmosphere provides a genuinely inspired marketing space for brands.
“Like any worthwhile endeavour, The CTIJF takes on-going investment,” says espAfrika director Billy Domingo. “Now 13 years down the line we have a festival that has evolved into a powerful entertainment brand - with a solid developmental character. And with the expansion of the venue, the evolution continues.”
Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing said, “The City of Cape Town not only recognizes the importance of events and their significant economic impact as demonstrated in this economic study, but is conscious of the fact that the current major sectors of the economy have stagnated as far as job creation and investment is concerned. More smaller and more competitive service industries such as event companies and their linked service providers are providing returns on investment and job creation, while the city and the country is still in a recession”. This bodes well for the stability of Cape Town’s economy and its propensity to grow the sector not only through a strategic events strategy but also through a collective commitment. To this end the City of Cape Town is committed to a renewed 3 year deal with the CTIJF, more details will be announced in due course.
On the question of future growth and investment, Minister Alan Winde says, “The Western Cape Government is proud to be a supporter of the CTJIF. We would like to see the festival grow even bigger, attract more tourists to the Western Cape and increase its music offering for the public. The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism will allocate R161.7 million over the medium-term to aid in the expansion construction costs for the CTICC. This is money well invested that will benefit the Western Cape, and the country as a whole.”
“As we learn and grow within a changing environment, I believe espAfrika is headed in the right direction. But we have to remain faithful to our core belief: Art has the power to transform and improve lives. We’ve seen the figures and we are encouraged, because our work is far from over –especially in these turbulent economic times.” says Rashid Lombard.
Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille believes that “The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a national treasure that creates thousands of jobs for local people and attracts tourists with diverse backgrounds from different countries. These jobs and the amount of money spent by jazz fans during the weekend of the festival are a major boost to the economy of the city, province and country. The success of the CTIJF over the years, as witnessed in its R2billion contribution to the Western Cape’s GDP since 2009 is a testament of its significant contributor to the region’s economic prosperity.
In reference to the Minister of Arts & Culture’s vision of the Mzansi Golden Economy, Lombard believes that facilitating the expansion and growth of initiatives in the creative industries in order to build high impact programmes is crucial in the current environment.
He says, “To sustain our impact and the momentum we’ve built up; we need to continue to invest. Partnerships we can forge spanning the private sector and government is more vital than ever.”
For more information please contact:
John Boyd @ Meropa Communications
011 506 7300
084 310 9817
Carenza van Willingh
021 671 0506
Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Dates: Friday, 28th March 2014 - Saturday, 29th March 2014