Just as performing arts lovers were about to scratch their heads wondering what’s next after an extremely entertaining first half of 2015, the weeklong Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) is scheduled to launch its second instalment later this year. The festival made its debut in August 2014 offering an unprecedented cocktail of events. It boasted a kaleidoscope of entertainment events that included; poetry, choral music, stand-up comedy, star studded music festival, and a jazz concert.
“It caters for everyone’s unique tastes so that no one feels left out during the week’s events.
Only the best local, regional & international artists are chosen to perform at GIMC in order to afford good quality performances for performing arts lovers to get their money’s worth,” reads a statement from the organisers.
Unlike with most local music events that give international artists prominence over local acts, the festival prides itself on giving precedence to locals. “The assumption that there is an international standard set by international artists to which local artists should aspire is what puts local musicians at an unfair disadvantage,” organiser, Thapelo Pabalinga, told Lifestyle in 2014. This year’s seven day long event is set to take place from the 1st to 6th September 2015.
This year, the organisers say, GIMC will be bigger and different from last year’s event.
They promise an even improved quality of performers and upgraded advertising platforms. “The biggest addition of the lot for the 2015 edition is the strategic partnerships that GIMC has created with various stakeholders,” they say. “This will create a sustainable approach to the event and most importantly open opportunities for local artists.” They hope through the partnerships GIMC will become a platform to grow the music and arts industry in Botswana.
As part of the strategic partnerships GIMC has joined hands with Tertiary institutions and offered that their best 3rd year students from the Faculty of Business that study PR, Marketing and Event Management be attached on an internship with the organising team. “This will give the students exposure and practical knowledge on running an event of such a magnitude. It will give credible reference and experience to the students for use in their future careers,” the organisers say.
They promise to play an active role in assisting students in being ready for the market when they leave their studies by offering them practical behind the scenes experience related to their studies and the industry.
GIMC has also entered into a partnership with the popular online radio station co-founded by renowned South African radio DJ and television personality Gareth Cliff, Cliff Central. “Gareth Cliff is one of the most influential radio and TV personalities in South Africa and his online radio station called Cliff Central will provide GIMC with an endless opportunity to sell the event to millions of people across the globe.” The organisers believe this partnership will also provide a great opportunity for artists taking part in the festival to grow and be known outside Botswana as the show will be beamed live on Cliff Central.
GIMC say they have also signed a Digital music Distribution deal with a Creative Mobile Group (CMG). This is an excellent opportunity for local Botswana artists to grow their music business internationally as their music will be marketed internationally through the CMG platform,” says a statement from the organisers. “Just like ITUNEs this will provide artists that have signed up with GIMC an opportunity to earn income every time their song is downloaded.” This, they say, will give Batswana artists a chance to have their music known internationally which will assist them in gaining access to other bigger markets globally.
As part of promoting tourism the festival has joined forces with Wilderness Safaris, one of Africa’s most prominent ecotourism operators. The partnership will see the tourism company sponsoring a holiday for two to one of their camps in the Okavango Delta. “GIMC found it fitting to attach Botswana’s pride and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, The Okavango Delta, to an event that seeks to highlight Botswana’s achievements over the years. It is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and what better way to celebrate this than by having one of the GIMC patrons experience it.”
This year’s festival will feature a total of 45 artists over the seven day period. Of the 45 artists 38 will be from Botswana with the rest coming from Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. “GIMC has truly grown into a regional event and it will create great exposure for the 38 Batswana artists who will be part of this year’s event,” the organisers say.
To drive home the message that the weeklong festival is more than just about the performances, the organisers have put together the theme ‘More THAN just an event’. “This positioning is relevant because GIMC is more than just an event. It addresses a wide array of touch points from selling Botswana, creating a platform for Batswana artists to grow internationally, celebrating the capital city, to boosting the local economy with increased business activity during the seven days.” The final line-up for this year’s GIMC is yet to be announced.