Apologies for missing both March and April posts – I actually got quite depressed after researching everything around the continent and realising that I would attend none of the amazing festivals. I mean, I still weep at the fact that I missed Ms Erykah Badu at the Cape Town Jazz festival. Ah well. next year

I’m pretty excited about May on the continent. Here goes our next installment – Wanderlust Afrique – May. Dear Universe…

1. Afrika Burn: Tankwa, South Africa 28 April – 4 May 2014

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Afrika Burn is a local spin off from the Burning Man festival in U.S.A. where a bunch of crazy, yes crazy, people pack up and go party in the desert. Same goes here – a bunch of mad hatters go and enjoy a week of desert living, with out of this world costumes, burning effigies, building themed “homes” and partying the day and night away in the middle of the Karoo, a place called Tankwa Town. The desert comes alive as its own self sufficient town – I have read and heard that people bring goods and wares to barter to survive. It’s a week of creative expression and community

Annually, the tickets to Afrika Burn are sold out within days and people spend a year planning the trek.

One day, when I am brave.

See more here – http://www.afrikaburn.com/

 

2. HIFA – Harare, Zimbabwe 29 April – 4 May 2014

http://www.hifa.co.zw/

http://www.hifa.co.zw/

Harare International Festival of Arts is a 14 year old music and arts festival held in Zimbabwe annually.

I think it would be amazing to attend this festival to see a side of Zimbabwe art, culture and music that we rarely are exposed. From videos and images found online HIFA tells a story of energy, creativity and celebration. I imagine it is a similar festival of the arts to the National festival held in Grahamstown, South Africa in winter.

See more here – http://www.hifa.co.zw/

You can download the programme and read all about the artists involved  – http://issuu.com/hifa/docs/hifa_pogramme_2014_r_lores_singles

This is a definite for next year

3. Azgo: Maputo, Mozambique 23 – 24 May

The Azgo festival was started off the back of Bushfire festival as part of the Fire festival route. “AZGO is the second stop on the Firefest route, a network of festivals that links HIFA in Zimbabwe, AZGO in Mozambique, MTN Bushfire in Swaziland and Safiko Music in Reunion.”

The festival was started in 2011 by ex-music crush Paulo, the drummer of 340ml and has been dubbed as one of the important festivals on the continent. Though the main focus of the festival is music, it also incorporates film, art, craft fair and culinary adventures for the festival goers to enjoy

Though the festival is young, last year saw over 4000 people enjoying the celebration of Mozambican culture and music by established and upcoming artists.

Azgo is slang for “Let’s Go”. Shall we?

More here – www.azgofestival.com 

4. Mawazine: Rabat, Morocco 30 May – 7 June 2014

source: welovebuzz.com
source: welovebuzz.com

Started in 2001, Mawazine is held in the capital of Morocco, (I thought Casablanca was the capital) is an annual festival that sees local and international artists grace the stages over a week-long celebration of music. Also known as the Festival of Rhythm.

The festival has seen some big names in music such The Jacksons, Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Quincy Jones and David Guetta.

This year is no different with Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo (vom) and even Ricky Martin on the bill. More here – http://www.festivalmawazine.ma/home

5. MTN Bushfire Festival, House of Fire, Swaziland 30 May – 1 June

Last year, on a whim, my friends and I packed our things and jumped into the car and drove the three hours to Swaziland for a weekend away and to attend the annual MTN Bushfire festival.
I’d heard about this festival and had always wanted to see and feel and hear it! It far exceeded any and all expectation.

15 000 People from around the world attending this expression of creativity through music, poetry, arts and crafts in mountainous Swaziland in a large open venue called House of Fire. The energy is amazing

During the day and into the night there is theatre, eating, drinking, fun for kids, music and all manners of expression at House of Fire, with a crafts section of the huge open area where people sell accessories, clothes, shoes, pottery and more. I bought a lot of earrings.

MTN bushfire is by far one of the best, most comfortable, easily enjoyable festivals I’ve been to. Swaziland is beautiful and easy to get around, with natural majesties to get touristy and explore if not at the festival. What’s also quite wonderful is that because tickets aren’t ridiculously pricey, the festival is inclusive for everyone and not “well off” foreigners. I believe that proceeds of the festival also go NGO’s for community development, so the fun is for a good cause.

The drive from Joburg is incredible; the wait at the border on the festival weekend is remarkable – i think we waited 2 hours to get stamped. but well worth it. So Bring your Fire
 

More here: http://www.bush-fire.com/

I’ll be missing out on Spoek Mathambo, Nakhane Toure, Oliver Mtukudzi, artists I’ve never heard of and more in favour of, LAST BUT NOT LEAST ….

6. DStv Delicious Festival – Joburg Botanical Gardens  31 May

Last year saw the inaugural  Music & Food Festival of epic proportions in Joburg – the DStv Delicious festival. (Most people who know me know how much I love saying the word “delicious”).

In 2013 the festival was held at Blue Hills Estate out in Lonehill and it was perfect! a 2 hour electrifying set from Jamiroquai, sightings of hobo looking Idris Elba, beautiful people, a lot of delicious food, and the most incredible sound system I’ve ever experienced. I mean, every note from every single artists was clear and crisp – I heard lyrics I thought were mumbles, beats I’d never noted before. Danced and danced and danced and accosted Jamiroquai at the after party

This year, I’m ridiculously excited for the international line-up at the open air festival – Brand New Heavies, Soul II Soul, Incognito. I may pee in my pants. I may die after that weekend. (The day before, 30 May, I’ll be checking out Foreign Exchange at Bassline in Newtown). Can you say scream?
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For more on the premier Music & Food Festival that you cannot miss out on, check these links.

Tickets can be bought here: Computicket 

Follow Delicious here for updates: @DeliciousFestSA

Til the next Wanderlust, see you on the streets my people


My longest and most pressing dream is to travel Africa. I don’t go a day without imagining what I would see, what I’d eat, who I would speak to, dance with and every wonder I could experience on my continent of richness.

The other day, lusting at  festival calendars in Southern Africa and thinking about the music and cultural festivals I want to attend this year – like Afrika Burn, Oppikoppi festival, The Cape Town Jazz Festival, Bushfire festival, Lake of the Stars – I started to cast my mind to the festivals that happen across the continent.

So, as one does, I got lost on the interwebs and lived vicariously through google, blogs, flickr, and everyone else’s experience of these festival.

Hours of clicking, mouth agape, eyes widening, hope fluttering I was inconsolably enveloped by wanderlust. I may not be able to afford to go to all these places right now, but why not experience them anyway? Then the idea of sharing some of these festivals here, as a way of putting it out into the world, was birthed.

So every month, I will post some interesting festival guides and we can live vicariously through the internet together, until one day it is possible for me to attend all the wonders and give you first hand accounts. Or maybe you’ll go, and tell me all about them Welcome to Wanderlust Afrique, February 2014 edition.

1. Sauti Za Busara – Tanzania – 13 – 16 February

Source: www.2camels.com

Image source: www.2camels.com

Music festival that takes place annually in February on the streets of one the world’s oldest cities; Stone Town, Zanzibar. In Swahili, “sauti za busara” means “sounds of wisdom”. Outside of the live African music element from various artists, there are street parades, fashion shows, artists exhibitions, open air cinema and of course all the other amazing tourist things you can do in Zanzibar, including swimming with dolphins. The festival celebrates its eleventh year in existence and it enjoys the prestige of having been listed as part of Top 25 best festivals. They say it is the “friendliest festival on the planet” – which is believable from my of experience of East African people being kind, soft spoken, welcoming and so full of life. I imagine you’d experience an explosion of cultural celebration through music and other activities, also, Zanzibar is just beautiful, magical and rich in history

2. Up the Creek – Western Cape, South Africa – 30 Jan – 2 Feb 2014

Image source: http://www.tailsofamermaid.com/

Image source: http://www.tailsofamermaid.com/

I’ve never even imagined a water festival. From what I can tell, festival goers float about on a river and watch live bands on different stages, under the sky. I wonder if it as crazy as that sounds. Anyway, there’s comedy and music, over four days, three stages and probably a lot of sunburn. The uniqueness of this festival is that it is about the river. One of the stages is basically a floating device, the bar and some food stalls (amazing) and with that, there would obviously be a competition for the most creative floating device you can put together – if you so wish. This year’s line-up has about 30 artists from rock, to trance, to hip hop and more. When you’re done being a water baby, camp sites available to dry out and rest. So, float on to Breede River, Swellendam and splash away the weekend with laughs and music in a laid-back, no frills, no VIP setting.

 3. Festival on the Niger – Segou, Mali – 5 – 9 Feb 2014

image source: Travellingman

image source: Travellingman

Festival on the Niger is a traditional and contemporary live music event that takes place in Mali city of Segou, with a stage set up just on the shore of the Niger River. It’s a three day festival that is not only nightly music concerts, but also day time activities including showcases of traditional arts and crafts, there are also theatre performances and film screenings. Each year there is a festival theme that will be focus of the conferences, exhibitions and performances and this year’s is “Cultural Diversity and National Unity”. The festival was started as a way to celebrate the richness of cultural and creative expression in Mali and the region.

4. Eyo Festival – Lagos, Nigeria

Image source: http://www.yorubaunion.se/

Image source: http://www.yorubaunion.se/

This is one of the most confusing festivals I’ve come across. A few years ago, I visited Lagos and the streets of Victoria Island had remnants of some sort of street bash, and the driver who had picked me up from the airport tried to explain it to me and I just couldn’t comprehend how it worked and what was happening, but interested nonetheless to find out. And so I read, that this is a Yoruba traditional festival where masqueraded dancers come out to the streets in a somewhat Carnival manner and a manifestation of traditional spirits. I’d seen a statue that had been wrapped in white sheets and all sorts of stick embellishments, and this is how the dancers also dress. It is said that what Samba is to Brazil the Eyo is to Lagos. The fanfare and processions are open to tourists on one of the days. I think this one has to be seen to be fully understood.

There is no set date for the festival, but found somewhere it would take place in the first week of February this year. Do correct me if I’m wrong

“A full week before the festival (always a Sunday), the ‘senior’ eyo group, the Adimu (identified by a black broad-rimmed hat), goes public with a staff (“when this happens nothing on earth can stop the festival from taking place the coming Saturday”). Each of the four other ‘important’ ones—Laba (Red), Oniko (yellow), Ologede (Green), Agere (Purple)— in this very order takes their turns from Monday to Thursday without fail. This strictness with cadre and other old established rules before, during and after the celebration is what perhaps appeals the most about the eyo heritage. “

That’s it for now.

SOME OTHER EVENTS IN FEBRUARY, closer to home: