TORONTO, Ontario – Afrofest, recognized as Toronto’s largest celebration of African music, heritage and culture, is back for its 25th year. Come rain or sunshine, the reputed festival will take place this Saturday, July 6 and Sunday July 7, at Woodbine Park, which is located at Lakeshore Boulevard, East, and Coxwell Avenue.
Presented by Music Africa, the vibrant, two-day, free-admission festival offers attendees a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty and diversity of the African continent.
Held annually since 1989, Afrofest is a showcase of a rich and diverse African culture. With a bustling marketplace, food and craft vendors, artistic displays, a Children’s Village, a drum stage, music workshops, and organized fun and educational activities for youth and children, the festival provides guaranteed fun for the whole family.
Afrofest is the biggest African music event of the summer. The free festival welcomes people of all ethnicities and communities and is a chance to discover Africa in the heart of Toronto.
Michael Stohr, President of Music Africa, says Afrofest was formed from a vision to broaden and challenge the stereotypes of Africa.
“Afrofest brings Africans together in celebration while educating all visitors about the vast diversity of the continent,” adds Stohr.
The colourful and vibrant festival will feature performances by top international groups and local stars of African music, along with dancing, drumming and theatre.
Many of the greatest stars of African music have performed at the event including Hugh Masekela, Papa Wemba, Amampondo, Oumou Sangare, African Guitar Summit, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and other ambassadors of African culture.
With over 100,000 people attending over the weekend the festival is the largest annual gathering of African communities in Canada.
This year’s stellar main stage line up will feature Alpha Blondy (Ivory Coast), one of the world’s most popular reggae artists; and classic highlife singer, Jewel Ackah (Ghana). Also performing are Blaise Labamba (DRC), Culture Force (Nigeria), Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba (Cameroon), Waleed Kush (Sudan), Donne Roberts (Madagascar), Kae Sun (Ghana), Ijo Vudu (Nigeria), Jean Asamoah (Ivory Coast) and more.
In addition to the performances on the main stage, the popular Baobab Stage will have non-stop activity with music and dance workshops and performances by the rising stars of African music. This year’s line up includes workshops by Sani Abu (Dance), Amadou Kienou (Drum), Evelyn Mukwedeya (Mbira), Bokwa Demos (Dance), performances by Runs Tee, Concept Books, Jemini, Destiny, Hodan Hussein, VITAL, Spoken and Star 5.
The Children’s Village provides organized fun and educational activities for youth including: face painting, working with clay, storytelling, beading, a drum area, easels for painting and more. Belinda Ageda will again coordinate activities with additional story telling by Ruth Danziger.
In the bustling African marketplace there will be an impressive display of authentic African arts, crafts and traditional dishes representing the culinary scene of Africa and the Diaspora.
This year, 89.5 FM CIUT will be returning to broadcast the event — live — in Southern Ontario and worldwide at www.ciut.fm.
Music Africa is a non-profit community-based organization, whose main objective is to promote African music in Toronto through the Afrofest music festival and other occasional events. Established in 1990, Music Africa is among the oldest and most respected organizations promoting African music in Canada.
Music Africa also supports the activities of other non-profit cultural organizations through partnerships for various events. Through its activities, the organisation is committed to enhancing appreciation and awareness of African music among Canadians, while striving to establish Toronto as a global centre for African music.
Music Africa is supported, financially, by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.
For more information on this free festival, visit Music Africa’s website at: www.musicafrica.ca.