World music festival ‘will grow tourism’

2014-07-21 00:00

DECEMBER’s inaugural World Jam Music Festival has the potential to help Durban build a strong cultural tourism economy.

That was the message from Ernest D. Kelly, the New Orleans-based co-producer of the festival, who has been bringing delegations to South Africa for the past decade.

“We believe this festival will be a pillar for cultural tourism to build a cultural economy ... [and] we want the community — not just the province and the city officials — to take ownership of the event because there will be benefits for everyone.” The festival will take place on December 6 and 7 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the adjacent People’s Park.

Craig Clay-Smith, spokesperson for the festival, said the plan was to make the festival an annual event.

“We have really done our homework and have taken a calculated risk in staging the festival,” he added.

Karlton Kirksey, of the International Arts Foundation in the United States and a director and co-producer of the festival, said bands from Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, the U.S., the United Kingdom and South Africa would be taking part in the event.

Sixty percent of the performers will be homegrown. Already confirmed are Durban’s own Natalie Rungan, Ernie Smith and Khaya Mtethwa, and superstars Jimmy Dludlu and Lira.

Among the international musicians heading to Durban are Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk from America, and ­Ky-Mani Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley.

The various singers and bands will perform on four themed music stages: Rock & Blues, Sophia Town & SA Stars, New Orleans Jazz and Ocean Islands.

eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo described the festival as an exciting development for Durban. “It is a moment that many musicians, especially those in Durban, have been waiting for. We are confident that this festival will assist us in our strategy in selling destination Durban to the world,” he added.

• Tickets for the festival go on sale soon. For more information, visit


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