The thirteenth DURBAN INTERNATIONAL BLUES FESTIVAL has come and gone and everyone is still feeling blue!
Which is a go…odd thing as this event has come a long way to reach its goal of sustainability and to grow itself into the “must be at ’ festival in Durban and in so doing- is also achieving its desired status to make Durban the Blues Capital of not only SA but in time, Africa.
This event was initially the brain child of Themi Venturas; Themi brought on a team of people who had a head and heart for music, the blues and event coordination. He selected well and together the event has withstood storms of many kinds of industry obstacles over the years, but also shone in many moments of success!
“ One of the obvious success stories is that, against all odds, we are still here after thirteen years, we are still growing and evolving and we are going to be here for a long time, “ says Publicity Director, Tanya van Agthoven Marais. “ The DIBF Team feel as though the “soft run “ is over and we are about to hit the heavy duty stuff now,” she adds acknowledging the efforts of not only Venturas, but of Program Director Will Wallace, Development Mentor Pinkie Mtshali, Risks Manager Arnie Field and Deputy Festival Director, Thando Nyameni.“ But people who have been part of the team by association, sponsorship and suppliers cannot be forgotten and Chris Randlehoff (Dep Arts and Culture), William Matthews (Concord Printing) Fender, Lewitt Guitars, Eric Apelgren (eThekweni Municipality), Brett Kingsland and his team (Kingston Sound) stand out without a doubt. Photographers Harry Lock, guest photographer Alastair Fraser and Mike from Kuluma TV – without these people and the newer folk, this event simply cannot happen.
One of other success stories is the decision to move from Wilson’s Wharf to The Plant two years ago as the event grew in numbers and popularity. Here, it seems that all the right ingredients make for the right “new home” and development of programming, peripheral add ons with food and drinks vendors and in house cash bars, parking, safety to name a few . The die-hard audiences are clearly pleased too!
The event relies on cash sponsorship and monetary assistance and the Department of Arts and Culture, Glenwood Village Music SAB, Riverside Hotel, Madeline Garden Apartment, Renegade Kitchen, Roast Co, Edward Snell, travel agent par excellence, Lindi Drummond, Functions for Africa, Durban Music School, Inca Premium Cocoa and their teams play a huge roll on the success.
But the biggest success story of all has to be the caliber of artists who perform at this event! The co ordinators have had a recipe for “quality and not quantity” and see now, the success of a shorter program rather than a longer one! “The artists are local, national and international and the magical thing about it is that when our international guests go back home, word of mouth is so positive, we get inundated with blues musicians who want to “Play Durban,” says Program Director, Will Wallace.
So the search is on for more sponsorship and partnerships and since time waits for no one- the 2018 roll out will commence within a few weeks again. The dream ? To see international and national guest artists stretch across the stage from Left to right on one night !
Diarize in 2018 –September is Blues Month in Durban, folks!