#Music Artists

Fans flock back to Africa’s music festivals

With a growing youth population with increasing spending power and a thirst for entertainment, music festivals could play a much bigger role in the continent’s cultural scene.Each year, at the MTN Bushfire Festival, a multi-generational crowd of 20,000 people “bring their fire” to the scenic Malkerns Valley of Eswatini, to experience an eclectic pan-African and international line-up of live music, theatre, poetry, film, dance, and visual arts.

The festival model is being replicated across the continent. South Africa is home to internationally known celebrations such as the National Arts Festival and the Cape Town Jazz festival which attract thousands of enthusiasts every year.

In East and West Africa, festivals in the economic giants of Kenya and Nigeria cater for a rising middle class who are prepared to spend an increasing percentage of their disposable income on events.

Meanwhile, North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia are being marketed as key music destinations, attracting wealthy European tourists and government patronage. And outside the obvious locations, successful flagship events take place in the likes of Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Zanzibar.

“The African continent hosts hundreds of annual festivals and cultural celebrations, though only a small minority target international audiences,” says Yusuf Mahmoud, Sauti za Busara festival director and chair of Music in Africa Foundation.

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