Corinne Bailey Rae: Ian Landsberg/ANA

It's all systems go for the 19th Cape Town International Jazz Festival which starts tonight with a stellar line-up of performers that are bound to get to feet tapping and fingers clicking till the wee hours.

But before you even go into the Cape Town International Convention Centre make sure you have your ducks in a row as the  Convention Square on Long Street is to be closed; as is Walter Sisulu Avenue and Lower Long Street (check out and follow the link).

Also be aware that some independent taxi operators will be taking advantage of the masses making their way to and from the venue and charging far more than the going rate tonight and tomorrow night. Bear in mind that a taxi ride from the CTICC to Mandela Rhodes Square or thereabouts in Wale Street if you park away from the action should not cost in excess of about R30 a person one way.

Doors open at 6pm and the festival will get going at 6.45pm tonight. Get there in time and be patient and chilled as the queues will be long and as it's all just a big party there's no need to rush. The action's happening on five stages – Kippies, Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee, Rosies, Moses Molelekwa and Bassline stages. Keep your printout of the programme handy so you know where to go.

The line-up is simply fabulous this year - check out #CTIJF2018: The Countdown Begins to get the lowdown on who's playing where.

The artists may be offering diverse sounds but they have one thing in common - to offer audiences the greatest entertainment in whatever style it may be.

The Sekunjalo Delft Big Band is one example of how music uplifts communities and they will be strutting their stuff at 6.45pm on the Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee stage.  Enjoyed by musicians and music lovers alike, Sekunjalo Delft Big Band (SDBB) has performed extensively throughout Cape Town and surrounds as well as abroad, in Sweden, France, the UK, Germany, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Most of the band members teach at the Sekunjalo Delft Music Academy where they have an opportunity to plough back into their community the knowledge and skills they have learnt over the past 10 years. A few teach music at local primary schools, as well.

The current line-up reflects the growth of the band - they have a full 18-piece line-up of permanent band members, most of whom have been in the band since 2008 playing trumpets, saxophones, trombones and completing the line-up on piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals.

Sekunjalo Delft Big Band has performed twice before at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) - in 2010 and 2015. At the 2017 CTIJF, the band was well-represented, with five members playing in the Sekunjalo Edujazz Band, and three members playing on the main stage in ‘’Camillo Lombard Presents a Cape Town Showcase”.

According to the band’s project coordinator, Trudy Rushin: “Our band is super-excited about playing at the 2018 Cape Town International Jazz Festival! After you’ve enjoyed them live, you can take their music home with you, as their 2015 CD, “Delft Big Band Now”, will be on sale at the merchandise kiosk.“

Cape Town's Manny Walters (Bassline stage) will be playing for the first time and he's definitely a fest newcomer to watch with super-cool sounds, rooted in the legacy of rhythm ’n blues, and enhanced by modern-day soul rock nuances.  

Back on the Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee stage, acclaimed band Incognito’s undying love for funky jazz turned their acid jazz repertoire into epic anthems. Frontman Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick leads this cooler than cool ensemble, which has embarked on numerous fresh directions over time, producing winning material and unforgettable live shows. Expect a slick set chock-a-bloc with party spinners and smooth fusion.

On the same stage, and singing until the wee hours of the morning, is our very own Alistair Izobell, the man who has been mesmerising audiences since he played the role of newspaper vendor Broertjie in Taliep Petersen and David Kramer’s District 6 - The Musical, as a nine-year-old in 1986. Izobell says for his set tonight, he is just going to do exactly what he has for the last three decades, and that is perform for all he is worth and make his audience's soul smile. With his eight piece band and vocalists his message is simple - he plans to have an "absolute jol".

And that's the message we have for all of you - go out there and have a blast! 

* For more details go to  Weekend passes for the festival are sold out, but day passes are still available at at R750 per ticket.