Sauti za Busara 2016 is Cancelled
Due to shortage of funds, Busara Promotions reluctantly announces Sauti za Busara 2016 is cancelled.
Yusuf Mahmoud, CEO of Busara Promotions, said today “This decision was not taken lightly. We set ourselves the target to raise US$200,000 before July, when we hoped to announce dates for Sauti za Busara 2016. After meetings with various stakeholders, we extended the fundraising deadline to Aug 20. The amount of support we were finally able to raise was well short, so we were unable to continue preparations. The pressure was on further, as we were receiving enquiries from all over the world from people needing to know the dates, to make arrangements for their own flights and hotel bookings. Selling tickets for Sauti za Busara was never a problem, but these only cover 30% of festival costs”.
Yusuf continued, “Since 2004, we had no financial support from the government in Zanzibar, the United Republic of Tanzania or the East African Community. Despite tireless efforts, support from donors, embassies and commercial sponsors has reached an all-time low. Busara Promotions is an NGO; the festival is non-profit. Friends of Busara suggested we try crowd-funding. However, to be more sustainable, before the 2017 edition our priority is to develop long-term partnerships with donors and sponsors who share our vision. If anyone reading this is interested to help keep Sauti za Busara alive, generating employment locally, whilst shining the spotlight on our rich musical traditions and promoting cultural tourism for Zanzibar and Tanzania, please contact Busara Promotions.”
Annually in February over the past twelve years, Busara attracted thousands of visitors from all corners of the world to Zanzibar, at a time which used to be low season. Even conservative estimates suggest since 2004 Sauti za Busara generated USD 70 million in revenues for the island. Meanwhile, BBC World Service hailed Sauti za Busara as one of “Africa's best and most respected music events”. It is also included in CNN's “7 African music festivals you really have to see” and tops Afro-Tourism's list of “Best Music Festivals”.
Yusuf Mahmoud said finally “Sometimes it’s necessary to take one step back, before continuing to move forwards. Busara Board and management shall be working hard over the coming months, to ensure the festival resumes stronger than ever from 2017. Possibly this will mean moving location, or making it a biennial event. Certainly our priorities will be to keep the event accessible for the local population, whilst seeking to build longer-term partnerships, with the public and private sectors”.
Whilst the festival takes a break, Busara Promotions continues with its regular activities to promote African music, strengthen local know-how and build livelihood in the regional music sector. Throughout the year, Busara ensures East African artists are invited to other international events and facilitates skills-building for local artists and festival crews, through exchanges and training in arts management, marketing, media and technical skills. This work, as generously supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam, is unaffected by the decision to cancel Sauti za Busara 2016.