Music Festivals In South Africa
The Definitive Guide (2022)
By placing the emphasis on daytime sessions in beautiful locations, music festivals in South Africa are intimate affairs.
Expect the melodic harmonies of:
- The best electronic music
- Live act indie-electro fusions
- Upbeat Jazz
- Uniquely South African Gqom & Kwaito
Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape area hosts the majority of music festivals in South Africa. Mostly boutique festivals with limited capacities help to create a connected feeling among the audience. Bazique, Origin, Wolfkop Weekender, and Up The Creek are all within a few hours drive of Cape Town’s city centre.
In the Tankwa National Park, there is Afrikaburn which will have a new site for 2022. And in the stunning Drakensburg mountains, Splashy Fen (one of the oldest music festivals in South Africa) welcomes a wide variety of music.
As a country, South Africa has produced many exceptional musical acts. The likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masakela, Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg and Lucky Dube are all well-known internationally.
The electronic scene is thriving, and house music, in particular, holds a special place in the hearts of South Africans. It is not uncommon to hear house on primetime radio.
The meteoric rise of Black Coffee has only fortified this love as many aspiring acts draw inspiration from the man that moves clouds. His infusion of afro-house and tech have been whipping up dancefloors globally.
Another exciting scene is the emergence of indie-electronic. The likes of Goldfish and The Kiffness have cross-pollinated these genres with live instrumentation that is a joy to hear.
Kwaito & Gqom
Kwaito and Gqom (pronounced ‘Gom’ by clicking the G) are two sub-genres unique to South Africa. They are structured on a slow, repetitive beat complimented by rap style lyrics. Famous acts in the genre include Mandoza, TKZee and Oskido.
What is the most famous festival in South Africa?
Rocking The Daisies is the most internationally well-known music festival in the country. And more recently the Ultra Music Festival brand now staging events in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
What’s the oldest music festival in South Africa?
Splashy Fen is the oldest and has been running since October 1990.