Since 2000 the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April has been dedicated to jazz in the Mother City. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) is the largest of its kind in Africa, and the fourth largest jazz festival in the world.
Hosted by the events company espAfrika, it’s referred to as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”. Every year renowned local and international jazz artists gather to entertain jazz lovers at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). With five stages and over 40 artists, it’s two nights of epic performances with more than 37 000 jazz music lovers attending the festival.
A few of the famous musicians that have gathered here include Chaka Khan (USA), Shekhinah (SA), Eliane Elias (Brazil), Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) (SA), Soweto Gospel Choir (SA), and The Lady Day Big Band (SA). Every year the line-up changes, with a few regular faces making an annual appearance.
Free Jazz Concert
The festival kicks off with a free jazz concert at the Greenmarket Square. It’s usually scheduled for the Wednesday night before the weekend. It’s a great way for the whole city to enjoy a little taste of what the festival entails.
Try to book your spot at one of the restaurants surrounding the Square if you prefer to sit and relax while you listen to the music. Or you can join the crowd of jazz enthusiasts in front of the stage.
The festival uses a special cashless wristband to speed up the payment process at the various vendors. Once you arrive at the festival, you can pick up your wristband at one of the CTICC Cashless Top-Up Stations and load your spending money. You can load money with cash or card. The wristband is valid at all the bars and food vendors. To check your balance, simply tap the wristband at a Cashless Top-Up Station. You can cash out the remaining funds after the event at howler.co.za
Related: 5 Off the Beaten Track Festivals
Community Orientated Workshops
The CTIJF Sustainable Training and Development initiative offers free workshops as part of a skills transfer programme. These include Music & Career Workshops, Arts Journalism, Photojournalism, Mentorship and Upliftment Workshops, Gigs for Kids, Master Classes, Tech Talk, Cape Town Fashion Workshop, and an Arts Journalism Public Debate. These workshops run the week before the festival and you must pre-register to attend.
Book Your Cape Town International Jazz Festival Ticket
Attending the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a once in a lifetime experience for passionate jazz lovers! The limited Early Bird Weekend Passes cost R999. A Weekend Pass costs R1 290 and a Day Pass costs R850.