Legal showdown brewing amid Soweto Jazz Festival cancellation

Soweto International Jazz Festival poster.
Soweto International Jazz Festival poster.
Image: Supplied

A court showdown brews following the cancellation of the Soweto International Jazz Festival.

It was announced on Saturday that the festival, which was billed to take place this weekend, was cancelled due to “logistical delays”.

“We could not get the permission needed from The Joint Operations Committee. We have always been committed to ensure that all our events are safe and we remain committed to ensure we always comply with all by-laws and City regulations,” Soweto International Jazz Festival said in a statement.

The organisers said that they will be approaching the courts to recoup the R15-million they injected into the festival.

“We have been advised by our attorneys that we have legal grounds to pursue this matter further and we will rigorously defend all our legal rights in the coming days,” the statement further read.

“We deeply regret the loss of the economic impact this festival was due to have on the local community. We privately invested close to R15-million. The festival was due to employ 150 local musicians and 300 local suppliers.

“All our suppliers were from Soweto to a cost of R4,5-million (security, cleaning staff, fencing staff, stage, sound, catering services plus many more.)

“Our team worked extremely hard to meet this momentous task and to ensure all the rigorous standards were in place. Unfortunately, due to matters out of our control we don’t believe that goal can be accomplished right now.”

The festival line-up had included international artists such as Charlie Wilson, Deborah Cox, Neville Brothers, Bob James, Rico Love, Gordon Chambers plus many more.”

International soul singer Deborah Cox expressed her disappointment over the cancellation.

“I am extremely disheartened that the festival was not allowed to happen. I was looking forward to performing for the amazing people of Soweto and Jozi.”

Local jazz artist Ernie Smith said: "I am very disappointed at the lost opportunities for us, my community and fellow artists."

Patrons who bought tickets to the festival would be refunded.