“There is a special admission package for Tanzanians which is far too low compared to what other visitors pay to gain entrance to this festival,” he said.
He said the potential that this festival offers is unrivalled and the greatest beneficiary is the local population who are yet to take full advantage of it.
“There are times when people have asked rather some cynical questions about whose festival is Sauti za Busara and some have even gone as far as to say it is a festival for tourists,” Said said.
He further added: “You really don’t need to look very far to find the answers to such questions. This has in the past 16 years become a high season for businesses given the number of visitors that come to Zanzibar.”
According to him, there is an indication that hotels are fully booked and Stone Town and Zanzibar in general is in an expectant mood.
Norway’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Elisabeth Jacobsen, will be attending the festival for the first time and she, too, is excited about the opportunities offered.
“We continue to support cultural activities like Sauti za Busara because we understand the value of such activities,” Elisabeth said.
“We see this is an important platform for free cultural expression and promoting cultural diversity, whilst nourishing expertise, quality and professionalism in Tanzania’s cultural sector” the Norwegian envoy, who kicked off her diplomatic role in September, added.
She urged businesses that are the main beneficiaries of the festival to join hands in supporting the event in form of corporate social responsibility.
Julia Bishop, the festival vice-chairperson, has experienced the impact of the festival first hand because it offers life changing moments for especially the up and coming artistes who are not known at all.
“For someone who has not been to Zanzibar before it is difficult to imagine the scale of this event, the quality of the performances, the professionalism and the excitement that it generates around Stone Town,” she said.
According to her, the fact that small groups that are little known get to share the same stage with superstars is in itself life changing in many ways.
Sauti za Busara 2019 is backed by Norwegian Embassy, Embassy of Switzerland to Tanzania and Zambia, European Union, Africalia, Embassy of France, Embassy of Germany and Pro Helveti.
Zanzibar Media Corporation, Zanlink, Mozeti, TV-E, E-FM, Madinat Al Bahr, Golden Tulip, Ethiopian Airlines, African Movie Channel and more also support the festival.
Sauti za Busara (‘Sounds of Wisdom’) is an African music festival that is held every year in February in Zanzibar, Tanzania at the Old Fort (Ngome Kongwe).
The festival’s fringe events take place concurrently around Stone Town - including the Carnival Street Parade, Swahili Encounters, Movers & Shakers and Busara Xtra.
The festival is one of the best music festivals in East Africa, with several hundred artists participating each year.
It showcases a diverse and dynamic programme of exclusively African music - 100% live - and has over the years provided a valuable stage for local Swahili talent, from Taarab legends like Bi Kidude and Culture Musical Club, to homegrown Tanzanian pop and hip-hop.