Music festivals in South Africa

The best Music Festivals of South Africa

We are proud to bring you the top five South African festivals on the annual entertainment calendar. We merely touch on the awe-inspiring classical, jazz, art and alternative music festivals in the country so get your glad rags on and show up. Discover our pick of the best festivals in town. Read all about them here.

Festivals mean fun. Fabulous fantastical fun with friends. Festivals are times to let your hair down, meet new people and celebrate something you believe in. Join us to celebrate some of these South African festivals – celebrations in art and music and fun you simply have to experience. 

woman dancing at a music festival with a drink in her hand

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz – Johannesburg

With huge names in jazz like Dumza Maswana, Gloria Bosman, Sibongile Khumalo  saxophonists Khaya Mahlangu and Mthunzi Mvubu, trumpeters Sydney Mavundla and Prince Lengoasa, trombonist Malcolm Jiyane, pianist Mongezi Conjwa and bassist Steven Mabona along with Hendrick Monyeki on vocals,  the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival in the city of gold attracts jazz lovers from all around the world. For more than 20 years, fans and musicians have been coming together in delightful venues to share their love for jazz, that soulful, heart-warming genre of music that makes so much sense and evokes all the good emotions. The musicians work hard, and the fans play hard for 3 days of creative pleasure. And the funds go towards great projects under the banners of Social Cohesion, Economic Growth and Cultural Tourism – all great pluses for South Africa. If you are not really a jazz lover, attend this festival and you will probably change your mind!

Splashy Fen Music Festival – KwaZulu-Natal

Welcome to the longest-running music festival in South Africa, in the spectacular mountain setting of Underberg in the southern uKhahlambe-Drakensberg mountains. It all began in 1990, an idea thrown around over a few bottles of wine by originators Bart Fokkens and Peter Ferraz and today, after some 30 years, is a huge calendar event. Plan your music getaway for the Easter Weekend – you pack your tent, plenty of warm clothes and blankets, some charcoal and firewood, plenty of sherry and loads of energy and you head to the foothills of the little berg.

Here you are surrounded by a natural stage, huge rock faces providing just the right acoustics and huge fields in which to camp and chill. Some fans swim in the river while others use the hot showers – yes, the festival is so popular now that it has been upgraded to provide great accommodation and facilities to all who love music. The food is incredible too – chefs provide funky healthy choices such as soups, bread, pancakes, curries, vegan options and hamburgers. Of course, the drinks and coffee flow all weekend as people celebrate top South African bands and house music – some fans never sleep but rather dance all night.

Rocking the Daisies Music and Lifestyle Festival – Cloof Wine Estate, West Coast

Heading now to the Western Cape, discover an eco-conscious festival for those who plan to save Planet Earth. 2017 saw the first cashless Rocking the Daisies so fans had to plan their festival way in advance. You load your money onto your wristband before you arrive and while you are there and use this to buy all the things you need there. You buy food and drinks and mementoes and access to bands. If you don’t spend all your cash, it is refunded to you at the end of the festival. Go and see incredible artists take to various stages – Ray Phiri, Man of Lemon, Pierre Johnson, RudydaDJ, Sun El Musician, Cassiem Latief, The Kiffness, DJ Lag, Fokofpolisiekar, Beatenberg and The Naked and Famous.

According to event organisers, fans can “expect a multi-faceted and multi-sensory action-packed weekend featuring the best local and international entertainment across music, comedy, art, film; hundreds of top local acts and some of the world’s most inspiring artists performing on multiple stages; camping; good times and making incredible memories.”

So, get your tickets, dress up in your hippy green gear and get out there – to Darling on the Cloof Wine Estate. There is even a choice of glamorous camping areas for those who don’t want to rough it and you pay a set price for a very comfy set up beside the river or far away from the noise.

group of people dancing at a music festival

Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Jazz lovers look forward to this festival a whole year in advance – an upmarket celebration of the best in jazz and musicians come from Africa and the world to show off their remarkable talent to their fans. Listen to the likes of trumpeter Darren English (Cape Town), classical violinist Deepak Pandit (India), guitarist Ernie Smith (Durban), Laura Mvula (USA), Jameszoo (Netherlands). Chaka Kahn, Eliane Elias, Shekhinah, Monchild – the list goes on and on and the days are packed with awesome talent.

Most people know the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering” as most artists are from the African continent and many from our own country. Nearly 40 000 music lovers flock to the festival to see their favourite musicians and to hear new sounds too. It is usually held during March April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

National Arts Festival – Grahamstown

Many South Africans view this festival as the most important cultural event on our calendar and it draws all kinds of artists to its stages. There is drama, music, environmental events, dance, arts, sculptures, fairs, lectures, street acts and more. It takes up a chunk of the mid-year holidays when winter falls in Grahamstown and all the aloes are blooming golden orange and copper-red.

Fans can choose to see the main events and stroll around the fringe events – main events are often the big shows that move around the country and feature at main theatres. This festival is one way to dive straight into the African art scene and is so well organised now that festivalgoers can move around on buses, eat divine food wherever they go, enjoy fantastic night acts, buy incredible artefacts to take home and bring their children to see the children’s fest. Other side events include the Spiritfest, Thinkfest and Wordfest. A robust and engaging Schools Festival has reignited the Festival’s long-time role as a winter holiday destination for young people.

Music festivals in South African draw people together and our top 5 South African art and music festivals simply have to be experienced. With Voyage2Africa, you can go anywhere so contact us to assist you with accommodation at the festival of your choice.

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