Prince Albert – the New King of Jazz

King Charles may have been crowned on Saturday, but Prince Albert is King of Jazz. The Karoo town’s first ever Journey to Jazz festival wrapped up with a People’s Concert following a highly successful weekend of memorable music, food, art, friendship, and unity. 

Following in the footsteps of many of the world’s most successful jazz and music festivals, Prince Albert threw open its doors and created a multi-venue, multi-artist event involving the entire town. 

Organised by the NPO, Prince Albert Community Trust (PACT) as an extension of their existing skills development and community upliftment programmes, Journey to Jazz has shown it is a catalyst for social equality and has the potential to be a meaningful and lasting contributor to economic sustainability – a small town that can deliver a big bang.

Described by performers, visitors, and residents alike, as an authentic experience that was charming, enchanting, and filled with good vibes, Journey to Jazz has quickly embedded itself into the town.  Whilst many of the town’s residents were new to the genre, Jazz is synonymous with promoting social change and challenging segregation. 

Founding trustee of PACT, Ingrid Wolfaardt, said: “When we first heard Brenda Sisane, who was our creative director for this festival, talk about the power of Jazz to unite people through music, we knew right away that Jazz was the disruptor that we were looking for to shift our communities.  It was then that the idea of Journey to Jazz was born. 

“This weekend has been incredible. I am so proud of our youth who answered the call to be part of this event, and who have trained hard, and who have now implemented their knowledge and skills to deliver a world-class professional event. I have learnt so much from them too and am humbled by all that has been achieved this weekend, which will be felt for years to come.

“The enthusiasm from our guest artists to impart their skills and ignite curiosity in our young people, who are the storytellers of tomorrow and the ultimate beneficiaries of the success of this event, has been heart-warming, many of whom have committed to come back and share their expertise. Next year, we can expect to see many more local music groups collaborating and sharing their interpretations with a willing audience ready to hear.”

Prince Albert, the town, is no stranger to social progression, being that it is named after Prince Albert, who had a world-wide reputation for educational reform and the abolition of slavery and was instrumental in organizing the Great Exhibition. But Journey to Jazz has broken many barriers this weekend. 

These are not only in the fact that an entire town has come together to host a festival and provide a blueprint for South Africa, but in witnessing the birth of a new era of collaboration, co-operation, and co-creation. For example, the UCT and Maties jazz bands collaborating, the after party jamming session of local and professional artists, the breaking down of social barriers and so on.

That it was enjoyed – there is no question.  That it will return in 2024 – absolutely and patrons are advised to book 1 – 5 May 2024 in their diaries.  Ticket details will be announced shortly.