Oppikoppi – Limpopo

10 Music Festivals in Africa

With the continent of Africa growing as a significant cultural and entertainment hub, music festivals are fast becoming a regular and popular feature on the continent’s cultural space. From educational and environmentally conscious festivals such as the Kenya Music Festival and Egypt’s 3alganoob festival, to entertainment festivals such as the Cape Town International Music Festival, there are abundant music events across the continent to suit your taste and budget. Take a look at the list of the Top 10 Music Festivals in Africa:

Festac – Lagos, Nigeria

Festac, also know as the Lagos Music Festival, is one of Nigeria’s biggest music festivals. This year’s festival took place on the 6th of March at the Golden Tulip Hotel, and the lineup included some of Africa’s biggest acts such as Phyno, Patoranking, Seyi Shay, Inyanya and Ruff Coin.

The festival was first launched in 2013, and is the brainchild of Swiss hotelier Shousha Mohsen, musician KCEE and entertainment guru Obrien Obinna Ufondu with the aim of developing Nigerian musicians and providing an artistic platform for musicians to expose their talent to the national and international music scene. The festival combines music, visual arts and food.

Tickets range from $5 to $2,000. Dates for the 2016 concert will be announced soon by the organizers via the Music Festival Lagos website. Photo credit: Music Festival Lagos Facebook

Accra Electronic Music Festival – Accra, Ghana

The Accra Electronic Music Festival is Ghana’s biggest electronic music festivals featuring international DJs and including electronic music production workshops for aspiring musicians.

The 2015 music festival, the second edition of the festival, is a 4-day music celebration featuring international DJs Say Yes Dog from Luxembourg and Dj Débruit from France as well as Ghanaian artists, with this year’s artists including The Collective and Accra House Music. The festival includes workshops on electronic music production and songwriting. The second leg of the festival included a live performance by France’s Dj Débruit and Ghana’s Accra House Music at Osu Night Market.

The festival, which is a Alliance Française d’Accra initiative, aims to bring African and international artists together while creating an enjoyable environment for all music enthusiasts.

Festival Mawazine – Rabat, Morocco

Festival Mawazine is Morocco’s biggest music festival that takes place annually in Rabat, Morocco and features big international and local music artists. The festival is a Maroc Cultures Association initiative that launched in October 2001 as part of Morocco’s tourism campaign of bringing together audiences of diverse backgrounds through music.

This year’s festival attracted more than 2 million people with 4 main stages, including the international stage, oriental stage, African stage and the Moroccan stage, and 3 smaller stages including the World Music stage, Discovery and Tarab stages.

J.Lo, Akon, Usher, Maroon 5, Ghita, Sting, Placebo, Avicii, Sean Paul and Pharrell Williams headlined the international stage while the popular duo P Square from Nigeria and Daara J Family from Senegal rocked the African stage. Access to most of the stages is free, with paid access ranging from $10 to $125. The 15th edition of the festival will take place on the 20th of May until the 28th of May 2016 in Rabat, Morocco. Photo credit: fest300.com

Vic Falls Carnival – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The Vic Falls Carnival is dubbed as the largest cultural infusion of Southern African talent. It is a 3 day festival that takes place on the 29th to the 31st of December at the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It features music artists from Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Namibia, and attendees can do adventure activities such as bungee jumping, sunset river cruises and white water rafting at discounted prices from the Vic Falls Adventure Zone and Wild Horizons.

This year’s artist line-up includes big names such as Goodluck, Mokoomba and Bhana. Ticket prices range from $45 to $100. Travel packages for South African travellers for 7 days using an overland truck from Johannesburg to the Vic Falls costs $315, and from Cape Town to the Vic Falls for 11 days costs $315. Travellers from Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, as well as the rest of Africa can book accommodation available on the site from $870 to $1,833. International travellers can book packages on the site starting at around $2,400.

Kenya Music Festival – Nairobi, Kenya

The Kenya music festival is a big annual event that takes place in August. It is one of Africa’s largest competitive music festivals for schools, colleges and universities. Organized by the Ministry of Education, it is a way of reintroducing music education to particularly primary school level learners after music was made neither compulsory nor examinable in primary schools in the year 2000 by the Ministry. As a result of music being made non-compulsory, secondary and tertiary music education enrollment numbers have also dwindled, sparking concern among authorities about the country’s cultural and musical future.

Among other objectives, the Kenya Musical Festival aims to encourage the study, practice and development of music dance and elocution, provide a forum for promising performers of music, dance and elocution to expose their talents and promote the preservation of Kenya’s rich cultural heritage. Participants compete in the areas of set pieces, folk songs, African folk dances, original compositions, arrangements and adaptations of existing music, and oriental, classical and instrumental music. Photo credit: destinygardenschool.com

Oppikoppi – Limpopo, South Africa

Oppikoppi is one of South Africa’s largest music festivals that takes place at a farm in Northam in the country’s Limpopo province in August every year. The festival started in 1994, making it one of the longest-running music festivals in South Africa.

The festival has grown from representing the music tastes of a small minority, which at first catered for white South Africans, to encompassing the diverse musical tastes of mainly youth and young adults from diverse cultural backgrounds. This year’s artist line-up included notable artists such as AKA, DJ Zinhle, Lee Thomson & Toya Delazy, The Parlotones, Karen Zoid, Ross Jack and Johnny Clegg.

Ticket prices were at a cost of $55 per person, and for accommodation, attendees pitch up a tent on the farm site, creating a camping community for 3 days. Photo credit: Derius Erasmus

Gaborone International Music and Culture Week – Gaborone, Botswana

The Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) is an annual multi discipline event that is held during the first week of September in Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone. The event covers comedy, music, fashion and poetry, and features artists and performers from Botswana and the SADC region.

This year, notable artists and celebrities attended the festival, including Khuli Chana, Jah Prayzah, Dollar Mac, Mafikizolo and Ringo Madlingozi. Ticket prices range from $10 to $24.
Photo credit: gimc.co.bw

3alganoob Music Festival – Marsa Alam, Egypt

3alganoob Music Festival is one of Egypt’s most popular music festivals that started in 2013. It is a 3-day, camping event in Egypt’s South region of Marsa Alam that covers movies, live bands, jamming sessions, drum circles, yoga sessions, and beach cleanups and takes place during Spring Break in April. It was created back in 2013 with the aim of being an eco-friendly desert art festival with movie screenings, independent bands, various environmental workshops, jamming sessions and artistic activities.

The festival, which takes place during Egypt’s spring break in April, attracts artists from host nation, Lebanon and Sudan. The 2015 lineup included artists such as Salalem, one of Egypt’s most recognized Indie bands, Egypt’s DJ Ahmed Samy and Lebanese and Egyptian duo Maii & Zeid.

Ticket prices range from $62 to $156, and are available for purchase via the 3alganoob website. Photo credit: english.ahram.org.eg

Cape Town International Jazz Festival – Cape Town, South Africa

Dubbed as one of Africa’s grandest gatherings, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa. It takes place each year on the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The festival is a 2 day music extravanganza which features South African and international artists on the festival’ 5 stages. The 2015 festival included notable musicians such as Amel Larrieux, Beatenberg, Cannibal Ox, Hugh Maskela and Oliver Mtukudzi. Festival events include a free concert that is held annually at the Green Market Square to give music lovers a taste of the festival’s good music, the Duotone photographic exhibition held at the Duotone Gallery that displays the work of both amateur and industry professionals that uniquely capture the essence of “jazz in motion”, the fashion and all that jazz gala dinner which showcases South African talent in fashion and the golf day which takes place at the Westlake Golf Club and offers business people an opportunity to network while enriching and developing local community projects.

The free concert will take place on the 30th of March 2016, the Duotone photographic exhibition on the 29th of March to the 2nd of April 2016, the fashion and all that jazz gala dinner on the 31st of March 2016 and the golf day on the 31st of March 2016 by invitation only. The main concerts will take place on the 1st and 2nd of April 2016 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Weekend passes for 2016 are already sold out, and day pass tickets are available from Computicket at the cost of $42. Travel package booking information will be made available soon on the festival’s site or interested individuals can find more information via info@jazztourism.co.za. Photo credit: moonofthesouth.com

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