A jazz festival has wooed jazz lovers in East London this past weekend. It is aimed at grooming aspiring jazz musicians and restoring the genre as the country’s musical heritage.

Thirty-two-year-old Mlindi Ntloko, who is the founder of the festival, says jazz lovers no longer need to leave the province to listen to jazz.

Jazz legends, Sibongile Khumalo and Selaelo Selota were among the artists who took to the stage to entertain the audience.

Ntloko says this initiative is opening the music industry for people of the province.

“This event is a very critical one for the Eastern Cape. Basically, what we want to do, we want to afford upcoming artists a credible platform in order for them to showcase their talent. It is very common nowadays whereby an artist would leave the Eastern Cape in order to search for greener pastures. But now, we are saying it is high time we create greener pastures within our province so that is what we are trying to do and so far so good. People have responded quite well.”

Premier Oscar Mabuyane says such events can boost the economy of the province.

“We are actually stabilising the province and as a government as well, we have identified these creative arts,  particularly the music as part of a niche area that we can also focus on in terms of growing the economy of the province. Opportunities to young people, as government we have put money even for that. Even if you talk about the film industry, we set aside money to ensure that it’s supported.”

The jazz enthusiasts who are attending the festival are ecstatic.

“You have no idea. I am so excited that it finally came to the Eastern Cape. Everyone is happy and I am happy,” says one of the jazz lovers.