Situated in northern Johannesburg, in the heart of Sandton’s business, hotel and entertainment district, Sandton Convention Centre, Southern Africa’s leading and most prestigious, multi-purpose exhibition and convention centre was the venue for the 18th Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival.
For someone like me whose love for Jazz is growing, I was thrilled when South African Tourism extended an invitation to me to attend South Africa’s oldest Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, Africa’s greatest city.
It was an opportunity for me to watch some of the world’s best Jazz musicians and also enjoy the beautiful city of Johannesburg.
For the past seventeen years, the Joy of Jazz Festival has been entertaining nationals uninterrupted, contributing to social cohesion, economic growth and cultural tourism.
The 18th annual Joy of Jazz Festival held from September 24 to 26 did live up to the expectation looking at the number of patrons that made it to the show that was hosted on four different stages namely Dinaledi, Diphala, Conga and Mbira.
Perhaps as expected from most events that run on different days, the 3-day festival started slowly on the first day. With Jazz, what one listener hears may be completely different from what another listeners hears. It means the patrons were pleased with what they heard as they applauded and cheered on after each performance.
The Dinaledi stage hosted big names such as Yellow Jackets and Larry Carlton, both from America who opened the festival on Thursday September 24. Also on that stage were Cecil McLorin Salvant, Marcus Miller and Steve Dyer.
Gracing the Conga Stage were Dwight Trible, Jimmy Dludlu, Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi.
Father and Daughter, Wanda Baloyi and Jaco Maria as well as Lee Oskar, Ray Phiri, Peabo Bryson entertained patrons from the Mbira stage. Dee Alexandra and Matthew Halsall rocked the Diphala stage.
Highlights of the night was when South African singer Dr Sibongile Khumalo was honoured on her birthday which fell on September 24, the first day of the festival. The patrons who were obviously excited to see her on the stage sang the Happy Birthday song for her. It was an emotional moment for her.
Due to the nature of the festival and the tight itinerary from the South African Tourism, it was difficult for me to be at all the different Stages at the festival, however with what I observe at some of the performances, I’m pleased and enjoyed my experience at my first Joy of Jazz Festival.
Sandton Convention Centre is very spacious, however I marvel at how the organizers put out 4 stages for the festival with little difficulties. That was unprecedented for me. I’m excited that, American Dwight Trible revealed during the media briefing that, he likes the songs of Ghanaian musician Gyedu Blay Ambolley.
The experience at the Joy of Jazz Festival for me was amazing. If you thought South Africans are only into Rugby then revise your note, they like, enjoy and appreciate Jazz music. I leave you with some highlights from the festival, especially from the Dinaledi stage.