African Music Culture

13 African Music Festivals to consider an African trip

Written by Denise Chido

African Music Festivals will blow your mind. There is such exceptional talent across the continent, and they gather to bring a fusion like no other. African music has always been a phenomenon, and it has grown and evolved into something epic.

The music Festivals across the continent will draw in thousands. You can experience local and international talent combined to bring about an unforgettable experience. Some of these music festivals are annual, but the pandemic has interrupted this trend.

Lake of Stars of Festival, Malawi

The Lake of the Stars Festival is on the shores of Lake Malawi. It is an international festival that brings local and international music acts together. It is even broadcasted on global networks. It is a fusion of music that promotes culture and tourism in Malawi. This festival brings new light and perspective to the image of Malawi and African music.

Some famous names performed at this festival include Andy Cato (Groove Armada), Beverley Knight, Bombay Bicycle Club, Christian Tiger School, Felix B (Basement Jaxx), Foals, Freshlyground, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, John Wizards, The Maccabees, Mafikizolo, Major Lazer, Mary Anne Hobbs, Mokoomba, Moonchild Sanelly, Nick Mulvey, The Noisettes, Oliver Mtukudzi, and many more.

For 2022 the date is yet to be set due to the pandemic. The event is not off the cards yet.

Thousands attend African Music Festivals. Photo/ African Overland Tours

Nyege Nyege, Uganda

The Nyege Nyege festival is an African music sensation. Right at the source of the Nile, in Jinja, you will find this festival. The festival is around four acres of lush, green tropical forest, complete with its private beach and sculptures.

Nyege Nyege is known as the African center of the worldwide bass music scene because it provides a unique opportunity to witness African electronic performers who rarely perform outside of their native nations.

The international lineup of artists includes artists from Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Niger, Burkina Faso, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Also, the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Germany, Belgium, and Mexico, are curated by a team of musicians and promoters from Uganda and Europe.

This year’s festival may be in September 2022, depending on the situation of the pandemic.

Rocking the Daisies, South Africa

The Cloof Wine Estate near Darling hosts the Rocking the Daisies eco-friendly music and lifestyle festival (Western Cape). The event will feature the best live entertainment, lifestyle exhibits, and gourmet cuisine.

Each year they work to top the last as they showcase African music and international collaboration. It is a multi-genre music event, one of South Africa’s most significant music events.

This year it will be from the 7th to the 9th of October 2022 in Capetown. In Johannesburg, it will be from the 8th to the 9th of October 2022.

Felabration, Lagos

The Felabration festival is held in Lagos annually. It is a festival of African music and arts commemorating the life and music of the late Nigerian icon Fela Anikulakpo Kuti. The festival runs for a whole week with inspirational performances from local and international acts.

This year the dates will be from the 10th to the 16th of October. It is one not to miss.

Afrochella Accra, Ghana

Afrochella is a festival that celebrates Africa’s unique culture and the colorful work of African artists and businesses. The festival aims to elevate and expose Africa’s exciting and burgeoning millennial talent by presenting an interactive event that teaches, explains, and explores many cultures through a pioneering method.

Afrochellans will be able to see and participate in African art and creative activations and enjoy luxury and refined cuisine.

You can prepare for a complete turnup with African music and adventures. This year you can turn up from the 27th of December 2022 to the 3rd of January 2023.

Vic Falls Carnival

The Victoria Falls Carnival is one of the biggest parties in Africa. It’s days of celebration, African Music with international acts. It usually sells out quickly, and accommodation varies from five-star hotels to camping sites. It is a musical adventure with people from all walks of life.

The carnival is from the 29th of April to the 1st of May 2022.

Afropunk, Johannesburg

The AFROPUNK Festival began as an underground urban indie-rock/punk/hardcore scene, spawned a documentary, evolved into an online community, morphed into a live-performance series, and is now an international event devoted to “the other black experience.”

A mash-up of artists, activists, and viewpoints. AFROPUNK is a two-day festival that blends African music, film, visual art, storytelling, and other forms of expression into a multi-cultural event that revels in diversity.

This year it is scheduled for December 2022. The exact dates are yet to be released.

Afropunk Festival. Photo/Pinterest

Sauti Za Busara

Sauti Za Busara festival is there to promote African music. It appreciates the rich diversity of East Africa. Initially, it was just for East African music. Still, it has since grown to incorporate music from the rest of Africa. And even from Africans in the diaspora. For people looking to experience new and unique African talent, this is the place to be.

This festival has already taken place this year. It was in February. But you can lookout for the next one in February 2023.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is a grand gathering. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is the grandest event. It is star-studded with local and international artists. This is an event that calls on all the jazz enthusiasts. You need to book tickets in advance because accommodation is quick to fill up.

This year, the Jazzfest is from the 3rd of June to the 5th of June 2022. Start booking accommodation now.

Asa Baako, Ghana

Here is another beach party never to forget. The Asa Baako is a five-day festival full of fun and dance. There is so much this festival offers that you will not want to attend just once. There is Live music, sound systems, beach parties, open-mics, tours, boat trips, beach games, yoga, etc. It is in the Western region of Ghana, on Busua Beach.

This festival is held annually during the first week of March. This year it was from the 4th to the 6th of March 2022. But preparations for 2023 are already underway.

Africa Nouveau, Kenya

The Africa Nouveau Festival arose from the successful Blankets and Wine Festival, which hosted over 50 events. With this new festival, the emphasis switches from solely on music to including other types of art and exquisite culinary pleasures. It’s a two-day celebration of African music, art, fashion, and food, and it’s as much fun as they come.

The Africa Nouveau festival is there every year in March.

Fusion in African Music. Photo/Jones Around the World

Bushfire Festival, Swaziland

MTN BUSHFIRE is Swaziland’s internationally famous music, and arts festival that celebrates creative expression. It promotes social responsibility while supporting the economy and attracting talent and tourists from across Africa and worldwide. With a medley of cultures, one should not miss this one.

The festival is from the 27th of May to the 29th of May 2022.

Gnaoua World Music Festival, Essouria

The Gnaoua World Music Festival is an annual Gnawa music event held in Essaouira, Morocco.

The festival serves as a venue for music and discourse between international artists and the mysterious Gnaoua (Gnawa) performers. The Gnaoua masters invite jazz, pop, rock, and modern World music players to explore new possibilities in this melting pot of musical fusion. The festivals attract up to 500,000 attendees every year over four days; many of the performances are free to attend. A free event is always inviting and one not to miss.

This year the event will be held in June 2022. The dates are yet to be confirmed.

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Denise Chido

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