The 2016 edition of Sauti za Busara has been cancelled.
‘‘This decision was not taken lightly,” says Yusuf Mahmoud, the CEO of Busara Promotions, which has put on the international music festival for the past 13 years in Zanzibar.
“Sometimes it’s necessary to take one step back, before continuing to move forwards,” says Mahmoud, saying less than a quarter of the $200,000 USD (425 million TSH) needed was pledged.
“Each year our local government authorities demand ever-higher contributions from the festival in withholding taxes, licenses, work permits, policing and security, venue rental fees – even for putting posters on the streets… We’ve always had zero financial support from the governments in Zanzibar and Tanzania, and support from embassies and commercial sponsors has reached an all-time low.”
“Busara board and management shall be working hard over the coming months, to ensure the festival resumes stronger than ever from 2017.”
Mahmoud says that doesn’t mean the festival is gone for good, but it might mean a new location or possibly making Sauti za Busara a biennial event.
Music in Africa Magazine says it’s estimated that the festival has generated $70 million USD (147 billion TSH) for Zanzibar.
Read more: Funding woes threaten Sauti za Busara