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  • Cape Town Festival reimagines role of buskers

    Cape Town Festival reimagines role of buskers

    The Cape Town Festival has returned in an effort to support struggling artists affected by the economic pressure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.


    Together with partners, The Castle of Good Hope, Ariva Arts Foundation and Western Cape Department of Arts and Culture, Yusuf Ganief, executive chairperson of the festival, will be launching the Beyond Busking Project on 15 June with auditions at the Castle.

    “We have a wealth of talent performing on our streets in the Western Cape. With an upliftment program like the Beyond Busking project, we will identify talent and provide training in songwriting, vocal training, stage presence, assistance in musical arrangement and equipment upgrades. This exciting journey of transformation for a few selected buskers will be filmed and shared widely as an example of how baby steps in the area of skills development and opportunity can change our destiny profoundly,” Ganief said.

    Public art, street art and street performance or busking, are both welcomed and encouraged by the City of Cape Town’s Arts and Culture Branch. Art creates more attractive public spaces that help uplift communities and drive social change.

    ALSO READ: The South African Film Festival returns: What you need to know

    Busking offers unique entertainment with a local flavour that generates income, showcasing the wealth of creative talent in the city to the public and visitors. While this is all true, busking is not sustainable for our local artists in comparison to international trends.

    Successful performers who busk in Europe and the US can sustain themselves through their art, and they are not looked down upon for taking their performance to the streets. There is a dire need to uplift the image and perceptions of buskers in South Africa and create greater platforms beyond the streets of Cape Town,” Ganief said.


    Both Ganief and Calvin Gilfellan, CEO of the Castle of Good Hope, see the value of supporting and nurturing street artists in a sustainable way.

    “With the impact of Covid and our heavily burdened economy, the Beyond Busking Projects provides economic relief and inspiration to our local busking artists. The Castle will assist our local artists with a training and mentorship venue and an annual venue space for the Cape Town Busking Festival in November 2022,” said Gilfellan.

    “The rapidly changing world of Art requires imagination and enthusiasm to overcome our challenges. The Beyond Busking Project will ultimately twin with International Busking Festivals, taking the best of our own musicians and funding them to perform in other parts of the world such as the International Busking Day in London which is supported by the Mayor of London,” Gilfellan continued.


    The Cape Town Festival kicks off the Beyond Busking Project with auditions at the Castle of Good Hope on 15 June from 11:00 – 15:00. Buskers will give a 15-20 minute performance to a panel of judges.

    Those who are selected will enter into a programme of transformation through songwriting, musical arrangement in studio and recording original material, master classes in stage presence, vocal training, and exposure to radio and media. These performers will be filmed as they transform themselves with the help of a highly skilled team of professionals.

    For further information to apply for the auditions, please contact Thabo at 084 894 6890 or send your info, bio and contact details to [email protected]

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