Journey to Jazz Announces Kyle Shepherd as 2024 Artistic Director

Following a very successful debut in 2023, the Prince Albert Community Trust (PACT) Journey to Jazz festival will be back 1 – 5 May 2024, and to deliver on the high barre set by the inaugural festival, organisers have appointed music maestro Kyle Shepherd, as Artistic Director to curate the upcoming programme.

Shepherd is recognised as one of South Africa’s leading jazz, film and theatre music composers and pianists of his generation.  He is internationally acknowledged for his distinctive compositional style and performances and was the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz in 2014.  He also holds the honour of being the UNISA piano competition winner in 2019, and has performed in 32 countries around the world, including 11 concert tours to Japan.

Shepherd’s resume is impressive, being an experienced curator and musical director, and has released seven jazz albums as well as clocking up an impressive number of film, television, and theatre score credits. 

His experience and passion for the jazz genre will ably assist his task of shaping the Journey to Jazz (J2J) festival into a dynamic force, and a permanent and regarded fixture on the South African music and lifestyle experience calendar. 

In conversation with him, Shepherd says that through his proposed programming strategy, he, and the festival organisers (PACT), are set to locate a specific narrative of the Western Cape music inheritance, which is in keeping with the contemporary jazz follower of today.

Shepherd says of his appointment: “Having performed at the inaugural Journey to Jazz festival in May this year, I was bowled over by how well the festival was received and by its potential to be a dynamic force of new jazz not only in the region but the country.  Prince Albert is a charming town, and this festival is a warm, embracing and highly personable event that amplifies the feeling of connectivity and togetherness that emanates from the area.

“I’m very excited to be working with the team on programming the 2024 event, which will include some of the biggest names in local and international jazz, but more importantly, on working with these artists and the youth to inculcate a love of jazz, exposing them – artists and the youth – to new experiences, and building a vibrant and robust community that creates its own opportunities for long-term success.”

Journey to Jazz is a product of PACT, which created the festival to provide the youth of the town, Leeuw Gamka and surrounding areas with the means to practically deliver the skills they have developed through PACT’s various programmes.  J2J is aimed at giving these young people income opportunities in an area that is very much isolated. In 2023, 86 youth were trained over a period of 10-months in all aspects of event management, and who delivered a professional event. 

Radio personality Brenda Sisane, who is the festival’s creative director, is equally pleased to be working with Shepherd, saying: “Kyle is his own tour de force as a composer and band leader. What touched me, was his reaction to this festival. It touched on his own sentiment to bring his work to his own community and give of his time. As Artistic Director of J2J 2024, he opens a door to his vast imagination of how our stages can sound and still meet our commitments to empower youth and have economic impact.”

Expect an exciting line-up to complement the festival’s other offerings that will include gourmet food and wine, art, storytelling, cultural experiences and environmental marvels.

Dates for the 2024 Journey to Jazz are 1 – 5 May 2024.

Please see: for some accommodation options.

For more information about Journey to Jazz and this year’s event, please see