Discord and near riot as jazz lovers are turned away from Thandiswa Mazwai performance


Discord and near riot as jazz lovers are turned away from Thandiswa Mazwai performance

Sy Mkaringe | 2017-04-02 13:11:50.0

Cape Town International Jazz Festival favorite Thandiswa Mazwai. File photo.

Image by: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival ended on a sour note on Saturday for throngs of music lovers when they were denied access to the venue where crowd favourite Thandiswa Mazwai was performing.

Mazwai — whose latest album‚ Belede‚ was released to rave reviews late last year — was one of the 39 local and international acts featured in the festival‚ and the biggest drawcard.

But she was billed to perform on the Rosies stage‚ one of the festival’s smallest.

When hundreds of fans‚ each of whom paid R1‚1190 for a two-day pass‚ tried to gain access to the stage‚ they were turned back by guards who told them they needed an extra ticket.

This created a near-stampede on the upper level of the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Many fans lost their cool and lashed out at management for allegedly short-changing them.

Attempts to obtain comment from Khalid Abdulla‚ acting CEO of events management and production company espAfrika‚ and festival director Billy Domingo were unsuccessful on Saturday night.

Muso Lehane‚ a senior espAfrika staff member‚ told disgruntled fans the Rosies stage had always been reserved for select acts‚ for which fans had to pay an extra R30.

But irate jazz lover Mpho Lediga of Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ said he had attended the festival for the past 12 years and had never heard of “exclusive performances for a select few”.

He said had he had spent R7‚000 — including costs of flights and accommodation — to attend the show.

“Thandiswa is the hottest jazz musician in South Africa at the moment. It was disappointing to come down here and be denied the rare opportunity to see her perform live on stage. I feel cheated‚” he said.

Amos Baloyi‚ a Limpopo businessman said it was “ludicrous and ill-advised” for festival organisers to feature Mazwai on such a small stage.

“She should have performed on Kippies‚ the main stage‚ for everybody to see her. Whoever came up with this idea has spoilt what should have been a superb festival.”

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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