Music Africa is a not-for-profit community-based organization that promotes African music in Toronto through its annual flagship music festival Afrofest. Established in 1990, Music Africa is among the oldest and most respected organizations promoting African music in Canada. Through its activities and events, such as the annual Black History Month Concert Series, Music Africa is committed to enhancing appreciation and awareness of African music among Canadians and continues to strive to establish Toronto as a thriving global center for African music. In 2008, Music Africa received the Heritage Award from Planet Africa (an internationally-broadcast television show and print magazine).
Afrofest is the largest free African Music Festival in North America.
Held annually, Afrofest takes place the first weekend of July at Woodbine Park in the heart of Toronto. Started in 1989 by Music Africa, Afrofest showcases the best in African music, art, crafts, culture and food. Now in its 27th year, the festival has continued to grow and so has the calibre of artists that have graced its stages.
Join us July 9 and 10, 2016 at Woodbine Park in Toronto, Ontario.
With over 35 live performances and over 120,000 visitors in 2015, the festival is a family-friendly and fun-filled extravaganza consisting of five areas: the Main Stage, Youth Stage and Drum Zone, Children’s Village, and a vibrant Marketplace which includes a delectable selection of food vendors from across the city. Each of these distinct areas provides a diverse, cultural festival experience, offering several different spaces for attendees to spend their weekend.
The Main Stage features established local, national and international award winning artists. Audience members experiences the latest genres and newest trends in African Music. Artists that graced the stage at Afrofest 2015 included living legend, Francophone zouk band Kassav; internationally renowned recording artist, actor, author, activist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal.
Previous performances have featured Alpha Blondy (Côte d’Ivoire), Oumou Sangare (Mali), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe), Papa Wemba (Congo) and the African Guitar Summit, who play various genres of traditional African Music using sophisticated and exotic musical instruments.
The Youth Stage provides a platform to promote and support artist music and spoken word talent through host-facilitated crowd feedback. The Youth Stage also features workshops, which actively engage the audience in various elements of African dance, music and culture. Several musical instruments and topics for discussion are presented on the Youth Stage and the audience is guided to actively listen and participate in the entertainment while learning about African culture.
The Drum Zone is a popular feature of AFROFEST that showcases world-wide drumming talent. The Drum Zone is highly interactive and includes drum and dance workshops for audience members.
The Children’s Creative Village is an area designated for children and creative adults. This is another interactive area where the audience enjoys games, story-telling and art-based activities throughout the day.
The Marketplace at Afrofest hosts an average of 75 vendors that sell products from all over Africa such as imported crafts, artwork and clothing. Vendors also include local food suppliers that promote an Africa’s diversity through cuisine.
Afrofest is inclusive and accessible with free admission. The festival is designed in such a way as to give its diverse audience the opportunity to experience various elements of African culture and its community.
Afrofest ignites the spirit of African culture in the heart of Toronto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Afrofest seeks to share the rich and diverse expressions of African music and culture in an inclusive, vibrant and positive community festival setting. Through Afrofest, a diverse audience celebrates the abundant energy of African music in an effort to cultivate community spirit and enhance the understanding and appreciation of the diverse people of Africa.