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14 African Music Festivals That Are Worth Catching A Flight For

By Rachel George

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If you haven’t been already, I’m sure a trip to Africa is already on your radar.

The continent of Africa is bursting with festivals and musical celebrations preserving their heritage and culture with respect to legends like Fela Kuti. Local and international artists draw in crowds from all over the world to enjoy the fusion of Afrobeats and African sounds with hip-hop, pop, rock, and other genres of music. You can expect epic adventures, outdoor camping, and a combination of sights, sounds, and cultures at almost any music festival in Africa.

If you plan on journeying to the Motherland, here are 14 must-attend music festivals in Africa that will blow your mind.

Lake of Stars of Festival

September 2019

Malawi

Attendees say Lake of Stars is more than a music festival. The annual celebration of artistic expression showcases some of the hottest South African acts. Past performers include rising singer/songwriter/producer Wandile Mbambeni and Gqom king DJ Lag, who co-produced on Beyonce’s The Gift album.  The festival first launched in 2003 encouraging tourism and providing an international audience for Malawian artists.

Nyege Nyege 

September 5-8, 2019

Uganda

You won’t be able to resist the urge to dance at this festival. Highlighting underground music and musicians in Africa, the annual event stands for PEACE, LOVE, JOY, and pushing boundaries always with a sense INCLUSIVITY. Enjoy four days of non-stop partying, various music styles and creative workshops.

Rocking the Daisies

October 4-6, 2019

Cloof Wine Estate

Experience the beauty and magic of South Africa for an unforgettable weekend camping music experience, featuring an amazing lineup of local and international artists. US artists such as Russ, Smino, UK rappers, and international hip hop artists Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, and Shekhinah. Hurry fast before tickets sell out.

Felabration

October 9-20, 2019

Lagos

The countdown has begun and we’re less than 90 days away from the annual week-long celebration to honor of the contributions of late Nigerian icon Fela Kuti. The festivities will also include a dance and art competition.

Afro Nation

December 27-29, 2019

Accra, Ghana

Ghana has become one of Africa’s most desirable destinations, hosting the biggest urban music beach festival. Headliners include WiztheKid, Davido, and African Giant Burna Boy, who dropped his debut album last week. It’s one of the most exciting festivals of the year. 

Burna Boy| Getty Images

Afrochella

December 28 – January 3

Accra, Ghana

Afrochella, Ghana’s answer to Coachella, is back for it’s third year. The festival is designed to elevate and highlight the thrilling and thriving millennial talent from and in Africa. It introduces an interactive event that encourages collaboration, explains and explores the culture with a pioneering approach.

Vic Falls Carnival 

December 29-31, 2019

Zimbabwe

Party into the new year at the Vic Falls Carnival. You’ll spend the first day dancing into a world of mystery and freedom on the lively carnival train and secret bush party. An electric night of fun all the way into the new year with traditional dancers, fire breathers, and other popular artists during the final concert. 

Afropunk Johannesburg

December 30-31,2019

Johannesburg, South Africa

The lineup for Afropunk Joburg is insane. Solange, Masego, GoldLink, Busiswa, Nao, the Destruction Boys and more will all be taking the stage alongside the hottest female DJs,Gina Jeanz, DBN GOGO, Fif Laaa, and multi-talented creative Lelowhatsgood. 

Sauti Za Busara

February 13-16, 2020 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Celebrate African culture with 400+ musicians and live performances carnival style-over four days and three enormous stages. Every year, Stone Town, Zanzibar is buzzing with music, dancing, fire eaters and an appetizing food market with Zanzibari favorites and delicacies, visited by thousands around the world.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival 

March-April 2020

Cape Town, South Africa

International music powerhouses like Chaka Khan, Sho Madjozi, Amanda Black, and London saxophonist Nubya Garcia gave stellar performances at this year’s festival in March. Next year will be just as stellar.

Amanda Black | Getty Images

Asa Baako

Ghana

March 2020

Bringing people together through dance, music, and love for Ghanian culture is one of the most inclusive. He music and line up are incredibly varied hosting established and local emerging artists, playing Afrobeats afro house, funk, dancehall, hip hop, afro-UK bass and more. Asa Baako also offers an endless amount of parties and activities, surfing, yoga, volleyball, boat trips, workshops their mentionable Jungle Party. I’ve never been but I hear they’re pretty legendary, so you may want to check it out.

Africa Nouveau

March 2020

Ngong; Racecourse Waterfront

A 3-day festival focused on Africa’s most innovative and progressive creators. Showcasing to the world the beauty that is African art, which can be fun, fierce, innovative, with the purpose to increase joy. This year’s experiences include fashion, film, virtual reality, non-stop music, and a unique camping site for overnight attendees. 

Bushfire Festival

May 29-30, 2020

Swaziland

Nothing but good vibes were felt at last year’s Bushfire Festival. Hailed as one of the top African festivals by CNN and BBC, this African festival hosts panel discussions, workshops on regional partnerships and live performances from the hottest international artists like Nigeria’s Mr. Eazi, CJ Cybos, and all-female band The SheKings Emakhosikati.

Bushfire Facebook

Gnaoua World Music Festival

June 2020

Essouria

Discover old and new music–pop, rock, reggae, jazz, hip hop–at this music festival in one of the most magical cities in Morocco. Since the late 90s, the festival has preserved Gnaoua traditions and music. Gnaoua music is a combination of African, and Arabic religious songs for prayer and celebration. Expand your horizons at this four-day event.

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Rachel George

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