THIS YEAR, AT WOODBINE PARK ON JULY 5 & 6, MUSIC AFRICA PROUDLY PRESENTS AFROSET 2014
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Thanks for an amazing 25th Annual Afrofest! The festival was started in 1989 through a vision of broaden the perception of African music and culture. The incredible growth the festival has seen, from 2,000 people at the first one day festival to over 100,000 visitors over a week end, mirrors the growth of the African communities in Toronto over the same time. In 1989 there were said to be just 20,000, almost half of those from Ghana. Today the African community in the Toronto area numbers over 400,000 representing close to 10% of theoverall population.
Afrofest is a welcoming environment for all because at its heart it strives to educate and inform about the amazing and fantastic diversity of the African continent and seeks to be inclusive to all. Even Africans are reminded, as they walk around the festival, how big and diverse the continent is. Those from the African diaspora are also a significant part of the event contributing to an even broader vision African diversity.
Woodbine Park became our new home in 2012 after many years at Queen's Park. A large number of the local Beaches residents attended the festival and expressed their pleasure that Afrofest was now part of their community. The new venue was generally well received by the audience, while some did lament at the lack of trees. They will grow over time. Just as surely Afrofest will also continue to grow as one of Toronto's most culturally significant events. This is bound to come with fresh challenges to improve the festival.
In our second year at Woodbine Park musical programming will end at 8pm on Sunday due to community concerns about the noise generated by events at the venue. Music Africa strives to have Afrofest be a part of the local community and looks to a future where the festival is seen to make a valuable contribution to the cultural fabric of the community, as well as supporting local businesses.
Music Africa, the presenters of Afrofest, is a non-profit, completely volunteer run organization. Please do consider showing your support by becoming a member of Music Africa, for a cost of just $20. Our members, through an Annual General Meeting, contribute significantly in all decision making processes. Publicity is mostly through word of mouth and community media further enhancing the festival's status as a truly community event.
25 years represents a major milestone for Afrofest and for the African community and presents an opportunity to reflect on how much the African population has grown over that time. Most of all it is a chance to celebrate the positive contributions of many different African communities, while also coming together as one large unified community. We are here, and here we are! Happy Afrofest!