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Top African Music Festivals to attend before you die

Top African music fests to attend before you die

Rich in cultural heritage, Africa is a diverse continent bursting with infinite inspiration. It only makes sense that this magical landscape, the birthplace of humankind, would also be THE most incredible host to music festivals (we swear we aren’t being biased, it’s just the truth). While Kylie and Kendall Jenner go to Coachella, we get to go to HIFA in Zim to shaya ama get down. In no particular order, these are ten of the most incredible music festivals the African continent has to offer…

Lake Of Stars; Malawi

Set on the glittering Lake Malawi, Lake of Stars hosts a variety of entertainment forms. Festival goers will enjoy the musical performances of local and international artists, view films screenings, experience art exhibits and even watch TED-style talks. If it’s a 360˚ experience you are looking for, this festival definitely delivers!




Cape Town International Jazz Festival; South Africa

Famed around the globe as one of the most popular and longest running jazz festivals, Cape Town International Jazz Festival has hosted droves of the most talented and passionate jazz artists. Africa’s biggest jazz festival hosts over 40 artists on 5 stages over 2 days every March.

Bushfire Festival; Swaziland

Set in the Ezulwini Valley, the Bushfire Festival is a 3-day event created for a diverse range of music, theatre, poetry, dance and art lovers. The best part of this festival is that all of the proceeds are donated to community development projects and NGOs.

Vic Falls Carnival; Zimbabwe

This is literally THE New Year’s festival. Previous years have welcomed performances by the likes of Mango Groove and Goodluck from South Africa. Over the course of the 3-day festival, guests can go bungee jumping, white water rafting or enjoy a game drive. The best part of this festival is the steam train party which takes festival-goers to and from the dance venue.

Festival Mawazine; Morocco

Morocco hosts a bunch of big festivals every year. This particular festival features both international and local musicians in an effort to pull together a varied audience. With a total of 7 stages, drawing well over 2 000 000 people (yup!) a year, this is by far one of the world’s biggest and coolest festivals.

Gnaoua World Music Festival; Morocco

Welcoming performances by traditional Gnaoua musicians, as well as jazz, pop and rock musicians, this festival is already in its 19th year. This festival sets the scene for African and Middle Eastern culture to mix and promote Morocco’s unique African heritage. This festival hosts over 500 000 visitors over just 4 days!

Festival-au-Desert; Mali

This festival has grown to celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures originating from Mali. Out of the Tuareg tradition of nomadic clans meeting to reconnect, this festival has expanded to welcome more and more people. This festival started out in Mali but due to unrest, this festival pitches its tents elsewhere in West Africa. This festival hinges on the promotion of peace, tolerance and cultural diversity.

Sauti za Busara; Zanzibar

Held annually in February, this festival celebrates African culture and music. Set in amongst the historic architecture of Stone Town, the Sauti za Busara festival hosts up to 400 artists from around the globe and raises the status of fringe events such as fashion shows, drumming and dhow races.

AfrikaBurn; South Africa

A rite of passage for millennials, this relatively new festival continues to grow in popularity. Held in the Karoo, modelled on the Burning Man festival in the States, AfrikaBurn centres around the burning of gigantic wooden structures created by guests. More than a big, big party, the AfrikaBurn ethos is rooted in bartering, camping out and dressing up in crazy costumes. Those who have been to the fest have described it as a life changing experience.

HIFA; Zimbabwe

Last but certainly not least, the Harare International Festival of the Arts is the undisputed ancestor of African music festivals. Since 1999 this 6-day festival has been a world-class showcase of music, art, drama, spoken word, circus and dance from all around the world. The positive impact on the community, the spirit of pride and creativity and pushing the boundaries are amongst HIFAs biggest achievement.

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