Comments on MosJazz Festival
Dave Liebenberg writes:
As a permanent resident of the Bakke/ Santos area of Mossel Bay, I wish to express my views on the above event.
It is stated that the next event will take place on the weekend of 17 January 2019. My understanding of a weekend is a Saturday and a Sunday – not four days as happened at the previous event in March 2018.
I thank the Mossel Bay Advertiser for acting as the facilitator for the MosJazz Festival/Municipality public meeting. I am regrettably unable to attend the Indaba but I wish to request that you put the following views; questions and requests to the organisers (Camissa Solutions) and Municipality on my behalf.
Firstly, may I state that I am opposed to the MosJazz Festival being held at the Bakke/ Santos beach area.
1. Noise Pollution
Noise is an extremely invasive form of pollution and over an extended period can be dangerous. It is a severe source of irritation and frustration to those persons exposed to this unwanted pollution. The residents of Bakke/Santos were exposed to high levels of continuous noise for more than 10 hours per day over for days.
Question 1: Will the sound levels be equal to those of the previous event?
Question 2: Will the program duration per day be the same as for the previous event?
Request: Can the Stage with loudspeakers be placed such that the speakers point Northwards (towards Dias Beach)?
Request: Can the Sunday performance be omitted?
2. The public parking area/ beach area
The public parking area at Bakke and the beach area was barricaded by high fences and the entrances were guarded by security personnel. Special parking space was created for VIP’s and additional parking was provided along the railway line. (TNPA property)
Question 1: By what authority can a public area be hijacked and rate-paying residents be prohibited from using the public beach?
Question 2: I assume that the fences belong to the municipality, but at whose expense are these barricades erected and removed after the show?
Question 3: What percentage of the gate income is paid to the municipality or donated to the Community Chest?
I am not opposed to the festival, but I do object to the venue being the Bakke/Santos area where we are regularly exposed to high-noise generating events. I believe that there are more suitable places and venues in Mossel Bay for festivals of this nature.
Camissa Solutions replies:
The event is for four nights. It starts on the Thursday at 17:00 and ends on the Sunday at 22:00.
The event is often perceived as a music festival for the local community.
The MosJazz brand is positioned as a lifestyle festival with multiple stimuli.
A compelling combination of camping, the sea and jazz are finding resonance with a global jazz following. MosJazz is designed to attract tourists to Mossel Bay, with a world-class programming and production formulary. It borrows on the successes of a similar at Tietie's Bay on the Cape West Coast.
The Tietie's Bay event attracted 20 000 bed nights in 4 years. We anticipate to grow this number for MosJazz, within five years, to approximately 30 000 bed nights.
The South African cultural observatory projects an economic impact of R328, 992 000 for Mossel Bay if 37 000 bed nights are achieved. We anticipate no more than 20% of guests emanating from the Eden District, with the rest coming from all over South Africa and the world.
Clarence Ford, an executive member of Camissa Solutions is also the co-founding director and shareholder of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. This festival is now rated as the fourth best Jazz festival in the world. It is anticipated that MosJazz on the basis of location, and a world-class programming and production formulary will bring similar accolades to Mossel Bay
It is a global tendency for music festivals to be located in public spaces. The North Sea Jazz festival in the City of Rotterdam hosts performances in high-density residential areas for the entire month of July. In this instance, the local municipality, together with the local residents appreciate not only the economic impact as a consequence of the event, but also the opportunity to showcase the vitality within local creative industries, and the diversity of sounds from the human family. Events of the quality that MosJazz represents, are universally embraced as significant tourism drivers with a strong impact on the local cultural industry.
The location of the festival was determined after a thorough inspection of available spaces in Mossel Bay. The following considerations contributed to the decision about location;
1. The camping area alongside the staging area, enabling easy interaction with the festival component.
2. The topography, which enhances the quality of sound.
3. The accommodation establishments within walking distance of the venue.
4. The size of the De Bakke staging area.
5. The history of similar events in the area "Live" performances are scheduled for no more than six hours on the Friday and Saturday. On Thursday four hours of "Live" music is scheduled and on Sunday five hours of "live" music is scheduled. Ambient music is played between "live" performances. International performers bring in their own sound engineers and our experience is that a deviation from our modality, often results, with a noticeable change in standard.
Performances end at Midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 22:00 on Sunday. This is the same formulary implemented in March of 2018.
Question 1. Will the sound levels be equal to those of the previous event?
Learning curves have been established, as is expected after the inaugural edition. On this basis, production interventions will bring a more structured amplification and we anticipate less related complaints in forthcoming years.
Question 2. Will the program duration per day be the same as for the previous event?
The program duration is the same as in March 2018. The program has been explained previously.
Request Can the Stage with loudspeakers be placed such that the speakers point Northwards (ie towards Diaz Beach)?
The wind will ultimately determine where the most "noise" manifests. In itself, a stage move will not bring relief.
Request Can the Sunday performance be omitted?
MosJazz attendees, visit local churches on the Sunday morning. The program on a Sunday commences at Lunch and the "live" performances scheduled for the day, end at 19h00. Heart FM (Cape Town's biggest radio station) will broadcast "Live" from the beach from 18:00 till 22:00 with a discernable reduction in amplification.
Camissa Solutions has eight annual events. The oldest event is in its 10th year. In all of this time, we have had no incidents at any of our events. The process of acquiring the rights for the use of public space is an arduous and bureaucratic task. We pride ourselves on delivering beyond expectation on related matters. Apart from disaster risk management, interactions with many municipal departments are required with our plans interrogated and vetted by the relevant and competent officials.
No municipal property can be hi-jacked. Such an act would be illegal. Authority must be obtained from the local municipality. The municipality measures the proposal from many perspectives. Public Safety, Environmental Impact, Health, Liability, job creation, social cohesion, economic impact and a host of other elements form the basis of related approvals. We have consistently, in all our endeavours, ticked every box!
The Municipality of Mossel Bay does not sponsor or subsidize the event in any way, shape or form. The Diaz Festival receives significant cash and other support from the Municipality. We hope the Municipality will again assist us to make the event as userfriendly and safe for the guests, expected from all over the world, in 2019.
As social entrepreneurs, our entire mission is to create jobs, cultivate skills and contribute to social cohesion. Our commercial imperatives we view as equal to our social imperatives. We have a strategy that we will present to the meeting. Our partners in the above effort are in fact The Community Chest and The Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
This partnership has delivered fruit, amongst the youth and poorest of the poor in Paternoster, Clanwilliam, Paarl and in 2019, Mossel Bay. This is an important question that must be asked of all event producers in the Mossel Bay area.
We request the writer to understand the value that events potentially present to Mossel Bay. Evaluate this value carefully.
If it does not create jobs, develop skills or contribute to social cohesion, then the nuisance factor is also not necessary.