To resounding cheers, Concerts SA (CSA), a joint project between the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Concerts Norway and the SAMRO Foundation, was presented with the Increasing Access to the Arts Award during the 19th Annual BASA Awards on Monday 19 September 2016.
This glamorous event, hosted at Shine Studios in Braamfontein, Johannesburg was attended by the who’s who of the arts world, including Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, Ambassador of Norway Trine Skymoen, as well as representatives of the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the US Embassy. They were surrounded by numerous leaders from the arts sector. Excellent food and drink flowed while audiences were thrilled by the performances of 2016 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships winner – saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane – and the award winning Moving into Dance Mophatong dancers.
Nominated for the Increasing Access to the Arts Award and the Beyond Borders Partnership Award, SAMRO Acting CEO Abe Sibiya, SAMRO Foundation Managing Director Andre le Roux, Concerts Norway’s International Department Director Anne Moberg, CSA Project Manager Nailla Dollie, and all invested in the Concerts SA programme waited with bated breath for the announcement of the winners.
On receipt of the award Andre Le Roux said, “When we were nominated for two awards we felt a mix of pride and humility. The award is a statement of confidence and support towards the Concerts SA programme, and recognises the value of productive collaboration not only between institutions but between countries. Increasing access to the arts is exactly what we set out to achieve.”
Concerts SA was established in 2013 with the express intention to reinvigorate live music performance which was in alarming decline in South Africa and undermining the wealth of talent and cultural creativity for which South Africa is renowned. The starting point was the shared belief that live music could play a far greater role in the cultural and economic realms in South Africa, and that urgent intervention was needed.
From the outset, Concerts SA aimed to position itself as a capacity builder, focused on stimulating and energising a live music circuit in partnership with stakeholders active in the sector. The primary vehicles have been the Concerts SA’s School Circuit Programme, the Venue Circuit Programme and the Music Mobility Fund. Concurrently, Concerts SA drives research initiatives focused on live music performance, for sharing as a public resource, for use in its own programme framing and development, for engagement around arts-related policy issues, and as a public advocacy tool.
Having evolved from a unique model of delivering “cultural micro grants” in support of its strategic objectives, Concerts SA’s work has reached numerous beneficiaries to the point that they quantitatively and qualitatively surpass other major non-profit and government initiatives in South Africa. In 2014, its first full operational year, the project had its hand in a remarkable 335 concerts – just shy of one show a day throughout the year. Building on this huge success, Concerts SA escalated the number during 2015 to 593 concert shows, reaching 50 schools and delivering live music to over 70 000 individuals with close to 1 000 musicians benefitting.
Without a doubt, this award is testament to the commitment of all project partners, and it will be amazing to see this programme continue to impact and grow the lives of so many creative people and other industries that benefit from live music events.