Six Music Festivals You Must Go To This Year

Six Music Festivals You Must Go To This Year

by Mamello Sejake                              Posted: 2017/02/15

Here is a list of the best music festivals, happening this year, that are within arm’s reach.

MTN Bushfire


I love this one and it even found a place for itself on the list of the best African music festivals.

Whether you’re down to go with your friends or keen to make it a family affair you can’t go wrong with bushfire. It’s very much about the music and marrying it with the arts which spills out in their musical selections as well as the foot trail of some 25 000 festival goers who make their way there, from across the world, annually.

There’s no age limit at Bushfire and it’s such a refreshing thing, or myself that is, to see young children gleefully chasing each other in a swarm of people without a care in the world because it’s that kind of environment and not typical of a music festival. Last year I forgot my backpack with my passport, wallet and phone inside it and someone handed it over to the police without taking so much as a rand – that’s also something that seldom happens.

The festival is hosted in the very stunning Swaziland and will be celebrating its 11th birthday this year. The drive there will take your breath away; once you’re there Mother Nature will once more show off by treating you to a spectacle of some of the most beautiful people, music, crafts and so much cultural diversity with the food.

When: 26TH – 28TH May.

For more information click here.




Look this here is a party! It’s now in its 23rd year and Oppikoppi has to be one of the wildest parties that I’ve ever been to. Think big – 3 days, 7 stages, at least 150 sets of music and entertainment, some 20 000 diehard fans, a dusty quilt of tents plus more bed nights in the hotels than all of Sun City and you have OppiKoppi good people.

The first festival was hosted in 1994 and was positioned for the Afrikaans rock music crowd but, man, it’s grown hugely! Everyone is invited now, everyone goes and everyone gets hammered like one big family in dusty Northam.

It goes beyond the music though and could easily be dubbed as a ritual of sorts. I know people who go every year, Oppi festival goers are notorious for sporting their collection of material wristbands that serve as festival passes. One year my friends and I camped next to two old men, who could have easily been in their early 50s and put us to shame when it came to partying until the sun came up.

It’s not for everyone but, in the same way that all of us once tried to fly when we were young, it’s definitely worth one wild razzle.

You go for the music, the party, to unleash the wild child in you and the quirky twist they have every year.

When: to be announced but in August.

For more information click here.


Cape Town International Jazz Festival


For the jazz and soul devotees who enjoy feasting on the finer things in life this one is for you. Billy Domingo, the director, said that if you haven’t been yet then “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.

It’s not the campout kinda vibe but it’s a festival nonetheless in the Mother City which is alone something to write home about in terms of her beauty.

Each year the five-stage festival which is also the fourth-largest in the world stages a magical line-up of jazz heavyweights for two days. This year there will be what I like to call a rainbow offering, with the whole enchilada from jazz legends and novices to musical storytellers and hair-raising acts for the young and the young at heart.

Thinking back I cannot point to a year when I didn’t look at the line-up in complete astonishment because they call on royalty yo. This year I’m looking forward to breaking it down with En Vogue, in the flesh, like I did to their 1996 hit Don’t Let Go before I knew anything about love making and heart breaking. Once I’ve claimed my right to lose control with their golden oldies I’m putting my faith in the hands of Tom Mish and his godly mixed tapes as well as, the queen, Laura Mvula who will undoubtedly bless us all with ballads on ballads of soul. 

When: 31st March – 1st April.

For more information click here.


Splashy Fen


Its South Africa’s longest running festival and perhaps the friendliest (it’s their tag line).

Since 1990 every Easter the festival attracts thousands of people to a farm near Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal for a dreamlike outdoor music experience. It also offers a cross-generational treat with something for everyone and probably the most focus on local talent because it’s so bomb.

It’s the perfect setting to paint outside if you ask me. There’s a natural amphitheater which has excellent acoustics, breathtaking mountain panoramas, a winding river which is pretty poetic and fields on fields open for campers.

Beyond the live music acts there is a rich selection of outdoor leisure activities like morning yoga sessions and trail runs, craft stalls, a children’s entertainment area and crèche. The African Rainbow Village boasts plenty of opportunity to browse through crafts, engage in fascinating workshops, or indulge in a delightful therapy treatment. They’ve got craft foods and craft drinks to pair with that as well as an exceptionally cute coffee village for when you’re funed out. And, it doesn’t end there there’s horseback riding, hot air ballooning, golf, helicopter flights, hiking, paragliding and quad bike tours.

Some unwise person said that you can’t have your cake and eat it… well, they obviously didn’t get a chance to go to Splashy Fen.

When: 24th – 27th March.

For more information click here.


Mieliepop Music Festival


I’m in love with the name. Mieliepop Music Festival is an outdoor rock, reggae and blues musical offering in the serene regions of Mpumalanga.

Dude, it’s in Mpumalanga which in the Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu languages loosely translated means "the place where the sun rises" so that alone means that if Miliepop Music Festival is your final destination you’re on the road to prosperity.

You spend your days dancing your face off to a happy blend of rock, Tarantino-rock, upbeat dance folk, indie folk, alternative indie, ska punk and everything else in between then break with sessions of Yo.Go.Flo yoga.

You’ll be surrounded by beautiful lakes, swimming pools and rolling lawns – it’s its own republic where you’re free to be in the company of a seamless line-up.

The best thing about it is that it’s a four day, young and contemporary yoga retreat in as much as it’s a music festival. There’s a handful of great yoga teachers on board who offer meditation, messages, acro yoga, budokon yoga, forest meditation, hula hoops and so much more. And, with that much zen in circulation I cannot imagine why you wouldn’t treasure the memories that you make there forever.

When: 17th – 20th March.

For more information click here.


Smoking Dragon


This one here offers both the intimacy of the perfect hangout and a breath of fresh air while having your happiness cushioned at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains which has to be one of the most beautiful places to welcome in the New Year. It’s not about looking cool or being cool when you’re there. People go to be with their friends and dance with their friends against a stunning backdrop of highlands for four days.

The festival will be back for its sixth birthday this year and every year it manages to steadily grow its family since its small inception.

The amphitheater is its centerpiece and it’s on the Northern Drakensberg Panorama, with it’s stretched out lawns, where you can enjoy a yoga session or two. Other cool features include the hike up Tugela Falls, a climb up Cathedral Peak, rock climbing, abseiling, a safe kids zone, hot air ballooning as well as tours to the remote areas of Lesotho and so much more.

Smoking Dragon is the perfect festival for the discerning music lovers who are mad about soothing local sounds like Madala Kunene as well as thoughs who prefer a party with a little bit of crazy.

One year, after the countdown a friend of mine said that they let off Chinese lanterns that disappeared into the night sky – wouldn’t that be lovely to see? It’s an unspoiled way to say goodbye to the past year if you ask me. 

When: to be announced. 

For more information click here.

Here is a list of the best music festivals, happening this year, that are within arm’s reach.



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