TOP FESTIVALS AND MUSIC THAT TRANSCEND
Senegalese singer, songwriter, composer, occasional actor, businessman, and politician. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine described him as, "perhaps the most famous singer alive" in Senegal and much of Africa. From April 2012 to September 2013, he was Senegal's Minister of Tourism. The New York Times described his voice as an "arresting tenor, a supple weapon deployed with prophetic authority."
Every year for the past 10 years, Lake Malawi has played host to one of Africa's most respected festivals, the Lake of Stars. The Lake of Stars festival has been hailed variously as "simply the finest festival in the world" and "the world's most spectacular music festival" by major media outlets. Lake of Stars will return to the beaches of Lake Malawi 28 – 30 September 2018.
The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
Touted as the "Glastonbury of African festivals."
Established in 1999, the festival takes place each year in late April or early May in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The week-long festival encompasses five principal disciplines: theater, music, dance, fine art, and poetry. Attendees can take djembe drumming lessons, take in a poetry session, fashion show or catch their favorite artists performing. HIIFA will return May 1-6 2018.
Founded in 2000, it is recognized as the fourth-largest jazz festival in the world and the largest jazz festival on the African continent. The great thing about this festival is that it features performers across a variety of genres, so there's something for everyone. The action takes place across two huge stages. Cape Town Jazz Festival will return on Friday, 23 March & Saturday, 24 March 2018
Sauti Za Busara
The Sauti za Busara festival, which translates to "Sounds of Wisdom," is held every year in February in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Performance spaces include old forts, amphitheaters and other historic buildings. Besides live music shows, the festival includes several other activities such as movie screenings, fashion shows and networking events for those in the entertainment industry. The 2018 edition will rock the walls of Stone Town with 46 shows on three stages: February Thu 8 - Sun 11.
Marrakesh Popular Festival of the Arts
Like South Africa, Morocco hosts a large number of festivals. At the Marrakesh festival, expect to see snake charmers, fortune tellers, fire eaters and acrobats competing for your attention while you listen to traditional Moroccan music via Berber musicians, drummers and dancers.
Victoria Falls Carnival
Vic Falls carnival is the youngest festival on the list (it begun in 2011) and takes place in Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe. Performances take place during the evening so that guests can take advantage of the tourist capital by day by indulging in activities like white water rafting, paying a visit to the Victoria Falls, bungee jumping or visiting the museum. The festival is usually held in December. official 2018 date will be updated...
To celebrate the birthday of Fela Kuti—Nigeria’s Afrobeat icon—Felabration is held at one of Lagos’s most famous venues: the Shrine. In his heyday, Kuti performed here with his dancing queens. Felabration involves a street carnival, as well as a series of high school debates on the issues Fela was passionate about, including corruption and the plight of the poor. Past performers have included Hugh Masekela, Fela’s sons Femi and Seun Kuti.
Ghana’s historical town of Jamestown hosts the annual Chale Wote Street Art Festival in late August. Street paintings, stencil work, sidewalk paintings, graffiti, spoken word, theater, and music all collide during this colorful event. Local artists like FOKN Bois mingle with fest-goers, playing soccer on the beach before hitting the various stages.
Timkat, which means "baptism" in Amharic, is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church's celebration of Epiphany*, which represents the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The Timkat celebration in Gondar is considered the most colorful, vibrant festival of the year.
Every other year, come late winter, packs of crocodiles, monkeys and ebony-beaked birds descend on the city of Dédougou, but it's nothing to fear. It means the International Festival of Masks and the Arts (FESTIMA) has begun.Mask making is a centuries-old tradition in the region, and FESTIMA's purpose is to protect and promote the custom. Many of the wildly colored wood masks represent animals, while others embody spirits from the bush. Locals believe that once the performer puts on the mask he becomes the animal or spirit he is wearing, which might be why the dancers seem enchanted as they swirl, jump, flip, and stamp up dust all day long and through the night.
Three days of traditional Touareg art, music and dance takes place in Essakane, 2 hours from Timbuktu, Mali. International acts from Europe and West Africa round out the festivities. Everyone camps in the desert with their camels close at hand. A truly unique cultural event that is well worth the trek. It's worth taking a tour as in the past few years there have been some safety concerns.
This festival is a platform for musicians from all over the world—and from all over the spectrum of genres—to collaborate with the Gnaoua musicians of Morocco. It’s held in Essaouira, and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors over its four days. The most special part of the festival is that the mystical Gnaoua people encourage artists to explore new avenues of music. Each June, the sleepy fishing port of Essaouira comes to life with the rhythmic beats of the Gnaoua World Music Festival. This charming 18th century port town with its whitewashed houses and iconic blue window shutters swells in size as it plays host to Morocco's biggest summer festival.