MORE than 20 000 people are expected to throng Ficksburg this weekend for the Cherry Jazz Festival, with South African music giants Caiphus Semenya, Ringo Madlingozi and Lira among the performers lined up for the eastern Free State town’s annual gala.
The concert – which starts tomorrow and ends in the early hours of Sunday – is part of the well-known Cherry Festival, the country’s oldest crop festival which started way back in 1967.
Mandlingozi, who rocked the crowds at last year’s edition of the festival with his popular hits like Into Yam, Ndiyagodola, Ngekhe Ndikulibale and Sondela, said he was excited to be making a return to the popular fiesta.
“Last year was awesome and we taking things to another level this year,” the Madlingozi told the Free State Times this week.
The legendary Semenya said he was honoured to be performing at the festival and promised an “awesome” experience.
“Despite all these years in the music industry, performing for people remains one of the pleasures I derive from my work,” the celebrated composer said.
Lesotho’s jazz sensation, Bhudaza, also said he was “extremely happy to be part of the show”, promising to give the crowd their money’s worth.
Others set to perform at the festival include the Lira, Mafikizolo, Dr Malinga, Peter Ntwana, Meqheleng Jazz Band, Senqu and Dihwaai.
Cherry Festival co-ordinator Gavin Boy said this weekend they were expecting to attract more than the 20 000 revellers who attended last year’s edition of the gala.
“The organising committee goes to great lengths each year to ensure that the Cherry Festival is well-represented at the tourism indaba and various travel shows and to make sure that the festival gets its fair share of media coverage,” he said.
Boy said the strong line-up for this year’s festival was informed by number of surveys in the province in which people voted for artists they wanted to see performing.
“It was important for all to participate in the process in order to achieve a solid line-up like we have,” he sa