Sauti za Busara: Zanzibar music festival cancelled

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People attending Zanzibar festivalImage source, Gabriele Fiolo / Sauti za Busara
Image caption,
The festival promotes local businesses and culture

East Africa's most popular international music festival, Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar, has been cancelled next year because of a lack of funding.

The festival, whose name means "sounds of wisdom", is held every February.

For the past 12 years, it has attracted thousands of international visitors to the Tanzanian island.

Festival promoter Yusuf Mahmoud said the target was to raise $200,000 (£130,000) before the dates for 2016 edition would be announced.

But so far only $42,000 has been raised, he said.

Selling tickets for Sauti za Busara was never a problem, he added, "but these only cover 30% of festival costs".

BBC East Africa analyst Kasim Kayira says the festival serves as an opportunity for local artists to meet and interact with their professionals counterparts from the rest of the world.

Cancelling it will be bad news for local businesses. Hotels and restaurants are normally filled to capacity, providing jobs for the local people.

After the festival, visiting artists often stay behind to promote their music and learn Swahili, he adds.

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