The launch of the African Festival Network (AFRIFESTNET) took place in Accra, Ghana, from April 19–21 with 37 festivals from 18 countries in attendance.
The idea for such a network first surfaced at a seminar hosted by the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and Arterial Network in July 2010, with the vision “to build the independent sustainability of and to promote African arts festivals as key platforms to nurture, celebrate, and project excellent and emerging African artists nationally, regionally, and internationally.”
The launch included keynote addresses by Korkor Amarteifio, chairperson of Arterial Network, and Kathrin Deventer, chief executive officer of the European Festival Association (EFA). Ms. Deventer also expressed her desire to make EFA a potential partner of AFRIFESTNET. Roundtables and workshops were also organized to address a variety of topics including fundraising and sustainability strategies for festivals, the use of social media in marketing festivals, building and consolidating festival circuits and training festival managers, as well as various actions for implementing AFRIFESTNET effectively and for improving festivals on the African continent.
Moreover, a founding resolution and a constitution to legalize the African Festival Network were adopted and an eight-person steering committee to lead the organization over the next two years has been elected.
By the end of the launch event, AFRIFESTNET had 155 registered members representing festivals and events in theater, music, dance, film, heritage, literature, visual arts, and multidisciplinary events from all five African regions.