Canada ready for 27th annual Afrofest

Afrofest - one of the largest celebrations of African music, heritage and culture in North America - is back for its 27th year! Afrofest 2015 will take place on the weekend of 4 and 5 July at Woodbine Park in the Canadian city of Toronto.

The crowd and stage at a previous Afrofest. Photo: afrofest.ca
The crowd and stage at a previous Afrofest. Photo: afrofest.ca

Afrofest is an annual musical festival that celebrates African culture and brings together many African communities. With over 100 000 people attending over the weekend the festival is the largest annual gathering of African communities in Canada. Held annually since 1989, Afrofest is a showcase of the rich and diverse African culture. Many of the greatest stars of African music have performed at the event over the years, including Hugh Masekela, Papa Wemba, Amampondo, Oumou Sangaré, African Guitar Summit, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and many other ambassadors of African culture.

The free festival welcomes people of all ethnicities and communities and is a chance to discover Africa in the heart of Toronto. This year’s festival follows the recent inaugural African Music Week on 9-13 June in Toronto.

The festival will feature performances by top international groups and local stars of African music, along with dancing, drumming and theatre. This year’s Main Stage line-up will feature Wenge Music/Nouvelle Generation (DRC); Kassav (Martinique & Guadeloupe); Zal Sissokho (Senegal) with Sergio Perere (Brazil) and Chico Antonio (Mozambique) - a trio fresh from a recent performance at Azgo in Maputo; Sam Fan Thomas (Cameroon); Cheka Katenen Dioubate (Guinea), Tich Maredza Band (Zimbabwe) and more.

Meanwhile, the popular Baobab Stage will have non-stop activity, including music and dance workshops as well as performances by the rising stars of African music, such as Maria Da Silva (Angola), Esie Mensah (Ghana), Pulga (Mozambique), Chelsea Stewart (Jamaica), Akin Busari (Nigeria), Destiny (Trinidad) and more.

The festival is co-hosed by Music Africa (not to be confused with Music In Africa), a non-profit community-based organization that was established in 1990 to promote African music in Canada while striving to establish Toronto as a thriving global centre for African music. In partnership with Africa New Music, the vibrant two-day outdoor festival is a chance to immerse oneself in the beauty and diversity of the African continent.

Peter Toh, President of Music Africa, said this years’ theme will include many acts from the African Diaspora. “The major theme is always the celebration of African culture and we are happy to be able highlight the contribution of African culture to the Americas,” said Toh.

Afrofest is also the official ‘torch tour’ stop for the 2015 Pan-American (Pam Am) Games, a major sporting showcase for North and South American nations, which takes place this year in Toronto between 10 and 26 July. The torch relay will pay a special visit Afrofrest with the Pan Am flame arriving in Toronto on Sunday 5 July.

With a bustling marketplace, food and craft vendors, artistic displays, children’s village, drum stage, music workshops and organized fun and educational activities for all ages, the festival provides guaranteed fun for the whole family. In the bustling African marketplace there will be an eclectic display of authentic African arts, crafts and traditional dishes representing the culinary scene of Africa and the Diaspora. For more details visit the Afrofest website.

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