Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Africa is a hot pot of art and culture. There is an abundance of music, culture, and art that makes Africa one of the hottest places to visit, not only for cultural tourism but also for the music and cultural festivals.
Let's look at some of the epic music festivals in Africa that have been pulling crowds for years. I picked these festivals because they are home-grown, original African, and have made their mark in the world. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, many of these events were canceled for 2020 but some were held at the beginning of the year and some will be held by year-end. Whatever your plans are, keep these festivals in mind. Click on their links for more information, but don't miss out on the videos!
Cape Town International Jazz Festival - Cape Town, South Africa
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival began in 2000 and has built a reputation as one of the biggest events in the world. This festival brings some of the biggest names in Jazz, from all over the world. The CTIJF is considered to be the fourth largest jazz festival in the world and the largest in Africa. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the world is enveloped in a pandemic, and every large gathering is facing shut down. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival was not spared the blow, it is canceled for 2020.
Afrochella - Accra, Ghana
Afrochella was started in 2017 in Accra, Ghana. It borrows its name from the popular American music festival in California, Coachella. This festival brings some of the biggest names in the African music industry and offers fun-filled activities. The fashion at Afrochella is also something to look forward to. This year's Afrochella theme is "Diaspora Calling" which aligns with the country's initiative that encourages descendants of enslaved Africans to make their way back home, called "The Year of Return, Ghana 2019". It looks like Afrochella 2020 is underway and will not be affected by the Covid19 pandemic. Be sure to get your Afrochella outfit ready and your ticket now!
Sauti za Busara - Zanzibar, Tanzania
Located on the beautiful island of Zanzibar, Stone Town is host to one of the biggest festivals in East Africa, Sauti za Busara. This festival started in 2006 and boasts a rich line-up of artists from all over Africa, every year. Their event is held over 4 days in the month of February annually. Hopefully, they will manage to make it again next year with no threat from the Covid19 pandemic shutdowns.
VicFalls Carnival - Livingstone, Zimbabwe
The VicFalls Carnival is set in the town of Livingstone, Zimbabwe, home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls. This fun event is a three-day event of partying, with some of the hottest musical groups in Africa. If you are a thrill-seeker you will not resist the many exciting activities available at the event; like the party train or white-water rafting, bunjee-jumping, zip-lining, helicopter rides, etc. The VicFalls Carnival is an end-of-year party that must be experienced. This event has been growing steadily over the years.
BushFire Festival - Malkerns Valley, Eswatini (Swaziland)
Held annually over the winter period in the month of May makes perfect sense for a bonfire party, and this is one hell of a bonfire party. This event dubbed the Bushfire Festival has been growing in leaps and bounds over a decade. It is now in its 14th year and going strong. The Bushfire Festival features hot local and international acts that set the place on fire, literally.
MACUFE - Bloemfontein, South Africa
If you ever find yourself in South Africa in the month of October, do not leave until you have attended MACUFE - Mangaung African Cultural Festival. The line-up of this festival is always on point, boasting the hottest local and international acts in music. MACUFE has built a great reputation in the region and has emerged as one of the biggest festivals in Africa.
SafariCom International Jazz Festival - Nairobi, Kenya
This festival line-up is never a miss, since its inception in 2014. Some of the big names in Jazz music world-wide have performed at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival. It is a week-long affair of culture and music in multiple venues that will keep you looking forward to the next event the following year. Safaricom International Jazz Festival is a memorable experience.
Okavango Delta Music Festival - Okavango Delta, Botswana
'A small festival with a big personality' - this is how I will describe the Okavango Delta Music Festival. This event is for the free-spirited people looking to have a weekend of fun in the sun and making new friends. Set in one of the islands in the middle of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by beautiful nature, this is an intimate event with a small crowd but the atmosphere and unique setting makes it an unforgettable experience. The Okavango Delta Music Festival has been growing steadily over the years since it started.
OppiKoppi Music Festival - Limpopo, South Africa
The OppiKoppi Festival is a popular one that brings together a show from multiple stages with a line -up of a mix of all genres. OppiKoppi is a camp-out-on-a-hill while enjoying live music and partying. This is a weekend of wild, free-spirited fun. OppiKoppi festival was hit with very bad press in 2018, and the management decided to halt it the following year, 2019. What they didn't know was that 2020 had other plans.
GIMC - Gaborone, Botswana
Known as the GIMC, the Gaborone International Music and Culture week festival is a week-long event that includes everything from music to comedy, theatre, and poetry. This event is fairly new but is definitely growing in leaps. Over the years it has been pulling crowds from around the region and beyond. The GIMC has hosted international acts from Africa, Europe and the United States. Do not sleep on this one, it's full of pleasant surprises every year.
Felabration - Lagos, Nigeria
Felabration is a festival celebrating and commemorating the life of the iconic Fela Kuti, the larger than life late musician and human rights activist who pioneered the Afrobeat genre. This festival was conceived in 1998 by Fela Kuti's eldest child, his daughter, Yeni Kuti. Felabration is a well-respected and revered event in Nigeria. It is a week-long annual event that features the hottest music acts from the region and beyond. Felabration is a festival that can't be missed!
Lake Of Stars - Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake of Stars festival is set on the shores of beautiful Lake Malawi. It is a three-day festival that is one of the most important festivals to attend in Africa. The picturesque location gives festival-goers the most fascinating experience in all of the African festivals. Lake of Stars boasts a wide range of international acts that have performed over the years. This is one party that is bucket-list material.
Lagos International Jazz Festival - Lagos, Nigeria
This is a three-day event that began in 2008 to celebrate music and culture in Lagos, Nigeria. The Lagos International Jazz Fest is Nigeria's premier jazz festival and is a well-respected calendar event. Folks from all over Nigeria and the region, and Jazz lovers all over Africa are loyal attendants of this festival and attend annually.