Africa has become a vibrant music hub with its own distinctive rhythms and sounds, plenty to attract music fans who want a taste of something new. The continent also has excellent jazz and classical festivals. However, the very big festivals in Africa cater for young audience with lots of pop music.
However, you can still find more music festivals meant for fans of a particular African genre as a way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Below are the top music festivals for the discerning music lover.
Bushfire is a celebration held every year in Swaziland. The celebrations are for the entire culture in the country including its distinctive music. The small southern African state punches high above its weight when it comes to music. The Bushfire festival has won many awards from around the world and regularly attracts big performers, such as Faada Freddy and Hugh Masekela. Apart from musical relief, Bushfire is used to raise funds for local projects hence the whole community gets behind.
Sauti Za Busara
Staged every February on the sumptuous Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, it’s one of East Africa’s best festivals in the calendar. Almost all acts that take the stage are of African origin and you can expect an electric style from both local and other musical traditions outside Tanzania. Sauti Za Busara literally means ‘sounds of wisdom’ a title that captures the spirit of the festivals. Ribab Fusion, Makadem and El Dey have performed at Sauti Za Busara festivals in recent times.
Lake of Stars
These festivals are set on the shores of Lake Malawi, and they blend African music with Western pop and rock. It is in Lake of Stars festivals you can see emerging African talent and some of the best European acts from artists like Basement Jaxx, Groove Armada and Beverley Night. These festivals take place toward the end of every September since 2004 and have been experiencing bigger audiences every time. The growth has seen the region welcome 4,000 concert- goers annually.
These annual Nigerian festival highlights everything cool and sophisticated about afrobeat and are named after Fela Kuti; the multi-instrumentalist, the genre’s towering innovator and band leader. The festivals are put to celebrate the great man’s birthday although he died over two decades ago. In these festivals expect danceable rhythms from Nigerian artists and those from West African countries like Ghana and Mali.
Festival au Désert
This festival is in close proximity to the Sahara, because it is staged in the northern part of Mali close to the ancient city of Timbuktu in West Africa. This festival is devoted to the desert rock guitar style with international bands like Tinariwen. The festivals attract visitors from all over Africa, Europe and North America. However, in recent years the festivals have not been held, due to security concerns in the region. When Festival au Désert returns it for sure will be the hotly anticipated music festival in Africa.
Travelling to any of these music festivals help people create bond with their culture and offers a platform to nature talents. The festivals also bring people from all over the universe together to learn about the host’s culture and way of life. The festivals are also good holiday destination and here you can take a day off from your schedule to unwind and create memories.