A Blooming Spectacle: The Stanbic Jacaranda Music Festival
The hallmark of The Stanbic Jacaranda Music Festival (SJMF) is undoubtedly the mesmerising display of purple blossoms that at this time of the year, blanket the streets of Harare.
The city enjoys hues of purple lavender, and deep violet. It is against this backdrop that various artists from a myriad of cultural array graced Old Hararians, a sports club and multi-purpose stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Youngsters were treated to generation themed and frenzied music. The festivities were a great family outing for many who value such experiences with their loved ones. Living up to everyone’s expectations, awe inspiring Lady Smith Black Mambazo delivered musical masterpieces laden with mastery.
Most performers knew what was expected from them save for one epic miss that remains on everyone’s lips. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a fellow arts patron had this to say,
“In Total were having a jam session instead of an actual performance because they fumbled and staggered on stage maybe they had not rehearsed.”
However, as if to pull the tug of war rope farther down to the extreme side of their turf, The Ndlovu Youth Choir rinsed away the sour after taste that was left by In Total.
Totally describing longevity and the ability to pull at nostalgic heartstrings, Alexio Kawara also shone on that night.
For an event to be deemed successful, it has to tick most of the boxes that The SJMF ticked. Good ambience, good vibes and aura as well as timeliness. Every act showed up at precisely the time slot that it was allocated. This is a clear result of engaging professional hands and good corporate partner-friendships that the event has with Stanbic bank, a key title sponsor.
Leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe is committed to propping up musicians and other creative artists and help them to maximize on their talents for their financial benefit.
“Stanbic Bank has been supporting the creative economy for a long time in Zimbabwe and in the region as they also support Joy of Jazz festival in South Africa, Luju Festival in Eswatini, Namibia, and Zambia. From 2018, we presented the festival to them, and they were aware of our goals and aspirations as a music festival in Zimbabwe. They closely followed our progress until they came forward to support us in 2021” noted Walter Wanyanya, the festival organiser.
The festival was overwhelmingly attended and this is one of the key areas the orgnisers are looking at for their next editions.
“Pre sales. We need to encourage more people to buy tickets early. It helps plan for crowd management. We did sell out on Saturday and Sunday which was great, but being forewarned is always better.” said Tariro Chaniwa, the SJMF manager.
From my experience and interaction with the friendly staff at the accreditation desk, the process was straightforward and seamless. The only downside was being stuck with a morgue like purple tag for three days (probably a cool thing to some). I felt like I was a seasonal nomadic bird under surveillance by National Geographic.
It goes without saying that there are always a few bad apples who always threaten to rot the lot. Security was a bit of an issue because a couple of people lost their phones. There’s probably need to have crowd security and to lay emphasis on the importance of taking care of one’s prized possessions because hustlers never miss an opportunity to pounce.
Another downside was the sound system which was a bit of a let down. Marshall Shonhai who is a well known events coordinator and arts critic lamented the effect that it had on Judith Sephuma.
“She was not very convincing, perhaps because of the sound issues that messed up her act.”
The week long event that started with a music business conference and concluded with the music festivities, did bring so much hope to the arts sector in the country and event hosting. Many lessons and opportunities await.
Speaking on “the role of innovation in fostering revenue streams and business opportunities for creative professionals”, Kambasha said the arts, just as in banking, needed to adopt innovation as the foundation for their business and financial growth.
“Innovation has seen Stanbic bank evolve from offering traditional corporate banking to now having a division for SMEs. Through this division we have innovative solutions for SMEs and there is no doubt that some artists fall into this category, and we are on hand to nurture them by making them understand their environment and how they can achieve maximum business and financial return on their talents,” said Kambasha.
South African musical icon, Yvonne Chaka Chaka was Guest of Honour, and she shared her experience on creative legacy touching on issues such as artistic contributions, cultural impact mentorship and philanthropy.
“I had many special moments. Having Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the music business conference was my highlight. We also had Standard bank Joy of Jazz South Africa producer Mantwa Chinoamadi attend the festival and having these giants walk with us was humbling and encouraging” added Chaniwa
Chaka Chaka emphasised the need for artists to know the business rights and guard against being taken advantage of.
To conclude, purple rain poured and made Harare bloom with magical and fantastical scenery that took us to worlds we previously imagined only Peter Pan boasting of to us.
An impeccable delight was delivered by Walter Wanyanya and crew.