The city of Francistown looks to give Gaborone a run for its money as it prepares to host a star-studded jazz festival to rival those held in the capital city.
For years now the Francistowners have had to travel down south for an opportunity to enjoy big music festivals.
However, through their inaugural Francistown Jazz Festival (FJF), Streethorn Music Promotions hope to bring the music to their doorstep.
“Francistowners always travel to Gaborone to attend established jazz events such as the annual Gaborone International Music & Culture Week (GIMC), Mascom Live Sessions and other annual music festivals and now we want to bring the artists closer to them,” says Streethorn’s Soares Katumbela.
“Botswana lacks great tourist and entertainment attraction activities along the likes of the annual Cape Town Jazz Festival, Standard Bank Jazz Festival and many others.
All these festivals are major international attraction activities in South Africa, to which a good number of Batswana travel on an annual basis,” Katumbela says.
He says his promotions company they believes that Batswana trek to these activities in large numbers due to lack of good quality entertainment in Botswana, especially the type most appealing to the mature segment of the general public.
Katumbela hopes the FJF will captivate mature audience and musicians alike in becoming a highly anticipated happening within the northern region. He hopes to turn the festival into a landmark cultural exchange event.
“The jazz festival will be a day-long celebration of regional and world class music that celebrates the convergence of the most prominent region of Botswana being the North. We are bringing all this to the old stadium in Francistown on April 8.”
He says they will engage Francistown-based companies to get involved as far as practically possible and exploit business opportunities in areas such as transportation, security and accommodation.
“Local artists are also to attend a music workshop facilitated by “It Has To Be Jazz Playground” (a youth jazz quartet based in Gaborone) as a social responsibility act by the artists through the festival,” he says. The workshop is only open to artists in Francistown and surrounding areas.
With the safety and security of concert goers always a concern in Botswana, Katumbela says they take this seriously and will work closely with the relevant authorities to keep the festival as incident-free as possible.
“We are fortunate to have a strong police force in Botswana and we will be in the company of uniformed as well as undercover police officers,” he says.
“In addition to this, there will be strict gate control, a medical emergency tent manned by a professional response team, dense security force inside and around the perimeter of the festival venue until the end,” he says.
He says two security companies have been identified to monitor and patrol all security requirements of the festival. The festival will feature some of the biggest jazz artists in Botswana such as Sereetsi & The Natives, Shanti Lo, Lister Boleseng and Amantle Brown, among others.
South African legends Jonas Gwangwa and Ringo Madlingozi are also part of the line-up.
“There are packages that include transport with Watermark (Luxury coach) from Gaborone to Francistown, and flying with Madlingozi courtesy of TRL travel agency.
Tickets can be purchased at Streethorn Music Caf├® at Molapo Crossing (Gaborone), and all Webtickets outlets,” Katumbela says.