Festival Cancellations In Southern Africa Hits Musicians Hard.
In a region where live music is everything – both for audiences and for performers heavily reliant on live appearances to make a living – the widespread cancellation of festivals across southern Africa has hit the music business hard.
May should have seen the Bushfire festival in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Zakifo and AfrikaBurn in South Africa, and Azgo in Mozambique. Next month would have been Zimfest in Zimbabwe. All have been cancelled – or replaced with online versions – along with dozens of smaller live events that have been growing in recent years, bringing in tourism, showcasing talent and culture, and boosting southern Africa’s music industry.
The longstanding problem of piracy has forced most African musicians to depend on revenue from live performances for survival.
The pandemic has stopped almost all musical shows since March, when the region recorded its first cases of Covid-19. Most countries initially banned gatherings of 50 people or more before enforcing a complete ban.