Entrepreneurial Skills Transfer
14 December 2024
Jazz Against Apartheid (JAA) is an annual concert/festival, educational and cultural exchange event that is built on international expertise.
Jazz Against Apartheid Beyond Exile (2023) is a catalyst for change, cultural exchange and expression, positive-sustainable development, opportunity, and could uplift the growth of music and performance capacity of entire regions as well as undeserved communities.
There are substantial opportunities for skill development, knowledge sharing/transfer, and training initiatives that could grow year on year and that could be designed specifically to develop and support the music, arts-festival- event industry.
One of our opportunities is to offer a Festival direction and Entrepreneurship training course for current and future producers.
This is also the vision of Allen Jacobson who wishes to participate in this years event, virtually via zoom link-up.
Allen Jacobson is a Musician-Educator, Arts Consultant Cultural Manager and Festival Director. He is director of one of Western Canada’s largest winter cultural festivals – the Flying Canoe Volant -which celebrated its 12th edition on February 1-4, 2023. There were 100,000 participants during 4 evenings of programming.
October 3 2023
With 6 concerts stages, and a festival site of 4 kms (looped), over 100 musicians- artists-dancers-actors and event staff were engaged. Cultural – educational workshops were presented to 3,000 students in the month of January prior to the festival. Volunteers number between 150 and 200 per year.
Among the 50+ partners/sponsors are all levels of government, local and regional businesses, multicultural associations, Indigenous and Metis entities, universities/colleges and schools from grades 1-12.
Allen described: “The festival has achieved this level of success over the past 12 years by having a core mandate, maintaining a consistent brand/image, providing quality programming and engagement opportunities for the public, and developing outreach and relationships with sponsors/partners/collaborators year to year. We added the workshops only in year 7 and have been developing this component incrementally with great success.
“We strive to provide appropriate, inclusive and respectful experiences for our public, staff, volunteers, artists and corporates. They are the ones who spread the word and we have benefited greatly from this approach.”
Allen is the founder of JazzFest at the Frankfurt University of Performing Arts. It is an annual four-day festival at the University, with 4 days of programming featuring student, teacher, and special guest ensembles.
The primary focus of the festival is in celebrating Frankfurt as an important centre of European Jazz as well as presenting the creative talents of the university students and staff. The festival presents several local youth groups (Grades 7-12) and the local professional big band/large Jazz ensemble.
The festival includes workshops, Jazz history interactive displays, a music trade show and corporate sponsorship opportunities.
Allen is founder of the TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival, which has been operating for over 30 years and includes 5 days of programming throughout the city of formal concerts, Jam sessions, indoor and outdoor stages, and daily music- workshops.
“The festival features local, regional, national and International musicians and has grown slowly and methodically for many years,” describes Allen.
“These festivals have grown organically with a consistent vision and intent: To provide quality concerts/performances and significant educational/workshop components for music students from Grades 7-12, universities/colleges, music teachers and amateur adult musicians.”
As a performer in the JAA international band since the 90s, Allen performed in the 2022 JAA – Homecoming initiative which presented concerts and workshops in the Eastern Cape area.
“I was struck by the inclusive nature of the project, the musicianship of my South African colleagues and the dedication and vision of the organizers. The audiences and workshop participants were highly engaged and appreciated not only the music and concerts, but the history of the music/movement and its ability to effect change,” he recalled.
Jazz in South Africa has significant potential and capacity as well as interest in fostering sustainable musical/cultural movements that include concerts, educational-workshops, knowledge exchange, audience and business development and more. Jazz Against Apartheid is an example of how this can be achieved under the umbrella of a Music Festival that would be sustainable and empower current and future generations of musicians and audiences.
A sustainable initiative like Jazz Against Apartheid is a multi-year momentum building initiatives that develops over years to become a vehicle for cultural expression and cultural exchange in the areas they operate. These also provide potential for cultural tourism, developing the region’s musical and educational and the arts-festival events capacity.