The Durban International Festival is upon us again this coming week, from the 24th (Heritage Day) to the 29th Sept. Despite the last minute withdrawal of funding from the Ethekwini Municipality for internal reasons remaining undisclosed, the festival continues in its 9th incarnation. This is largely thanks to the KZN Dept of Arts & Culture (Ethekwini & Ilembe regions) and a first time sponsorship from ABSA and the repeated support of The Mercury & Glenwood Village Music. We only found out about the city’s withdrawal two weeks ago and had to do some pretty nimble re-planning to salvage the festival. My congratulations to the Blues Festival Board of directors and planning team as they have agreed to waive fees and have done everything possible to save the fest! The good news is that we have saved it and it continues albeit in a slightly reduced version to the one we had hoped to stage. Nonetheless, Dan Patlansky from RSA will appear, and this years International guest is Fruteland Jackson. Both are not to be missed. Raoul & Black Friday & the Red Hand Blues will join us from Gauteng. and there are a host of KZN bands. After all Durban does boast the most active Blues scene in the country with the Blues Train holding blues sessions every Tuesday night of the year at Zack’s, Wilson’s Wharf. The Blues Summit on the last night of the fest is always a popular jam.
The Festival organisers hope that the city ‘blues’ lovers will turn out in their numbers to support their valiant efforts and to show solidarity with the Fest. On the eve of the Festival I have had to hand over to the team and ask Zookey Darling our Deputy Festival Director to deputize on my behalf. I will be back from my travels abroad in time for the last two shows and hope to see all our regulars. We’ll have a drink together and wallow in our Durban Blues!