Your guide to South Africa’s best music festivals

Posted on 26 August 2013

There is no denying that music festivals are a fun way to enjoy good music, booze and have an absolutely fun time creating memories. Music festivals in South Africa are amazing because they cater for a variety of people. If you’re into hip-hop, trance, heavy metal, a bit of indie or electro house – trust me, you won’t feel left out. I’m not sure about you, but there’s just something exciting about camping on a farm in the middle of nowhere, singing along to some of my favourite sounds while being with friends, making new friends in the process and partying until the sun comes up.

I am here to assist you with getting in the mood for the festivals happening in the country this year and to make sure your music festival calendar up to date.


1. Ultra Festival

Ultra South Africa always brings the best of International and local acts on their stage.

Ultra South Africa always brings the best of International and local acts on their stage.

Let’s get the festival season started with the International festival, Ultra, which returns to South Africa for the fourth time. Imagine all your favourite International DJs such as Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, David Guetta and Black Coffee (after his phenomenal year last year, we consider him an International DJ). All your favourite local DJs will also grace the stage playing the best house and electro music. DJ Fresh, DJ Euphonik, Crazy White Boy, DJ PH and more. If you’re keen to give it a try, this is probably the best one to start with.
Date: 24 February – Cape Town and 25 February 2017 – Joburg
Venue: Cape Town – Cape Town Stadium and Joburg – Nasrec Expo Centre
Cost: From R650
Contact: or the Ultra South Africa Facebook page


2. Mielie Pop Festival

The four day festival is becoming a favourite for friends and families in South Africa

The four day festival is becoming a favourite for friends and families in South Africa

The Mielie Pop Festival is one way to describe the idiom ‘Dynamite comes in small packages’. Lothair is one of the smallest towns in South Africa but it will be the host of the Mielie Pop Festival 2017. Lothair in Mpumalanga is surrounded by beautiful lakes and lush lawns. The four day music festival creates the perfect ambience with over 60 live bands set to perform. All guests are allowed to camp on the venue, based on a first come first serve basis. There will be food for sale on the premises.
Date: 17-20 March
Venue: Toldenia Resort, Lothair Mpumalanga
Cost: From R 650
Contact: or visit the Mielie Pop Festival Facebook page.


3. Cape Town Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival celebrates 18 years this year

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival celebrates 18 years this year

Bring your best dancing shoes and go sway at the largest music event in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival turns 18 this year. 5 different stages with over 40 artists, there is a possibility you may not want to miss out on the celebrations. International artists such as Jokko (Senegal), Tom Misch (United Kingdom), En Vogue(United States of America) and our very own Ernie Smith, Mango Groove, Thandiswa Mazwai and the Rudimentals to name a few. The Jazz Festival allows people of all ages to be immersed in the music.
Date: 31 March- 1 April
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)
Cost: R690 for the day pass and R 1 190 for a weekend pass
Contact: or visit the Facebook page Cape Town International Jazz Festival


4. Love Project

Spread a bit of love at the Love Project.

Spread a bit of love at the Love Project

Tired of the city, then here is a perfect escape. The theme for this outdoor trance festival is ‘Love Grows Here’. The Love Project is an overnight electronic music festival with a focus on psychedelic trance with the emphasis being on love. The event is taking place at the Dieprivier farm outside of Caledon. This festival is a superb family and friends gathering. In consideration for others, spare blankets and clothes are accepted for donations for those less fortunate.

Date: 1-2 April
Venue: Dieprivier Plaas also known as Utopia
Cost: Early bird tickets are from R 320 and R 400 at the gate
Contact: or visit the Love Project’s Facebook page: Organikpsy


5. Splashy Fen Festival


Established in 1990, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest-running music festival. It is also heavily orientated towards family and outdoor activities, so apart from river dives and open-air dancing sessions, you can spend your days playing paintball, zooming down zip lines or tubing on the river. You can also get your hippie on in the Tribal Village, a more basic camping experience a little removed from the main camp. Expect quite the variety of music genres such as reggae, folk, acoustic, drum ‘n bass and even some electro. Splashy Fen happens every Easter, but start planning now to make it a memorable one.
Date: 13–16 April 2017
Venue: Underberg Country Club, KwaZulu-Natal
Cost: From R400
Contact: or have a look at the Splashy Fen Festival Facebook page
5 reasons why Splashy Fen is unlike any other festival


6. AfrikaBurn


AfrikaBurn works on a gifting system. No money is exchanged so you need to bring everything you need along with you as well as any items you think would be cool to gift to others. All kinds of artists bring their talent, creating a range of stages around the large inner circle and an art exhibition like no other in this vast, dry and beautiful space. You’ll literally lose yourself between the theme camps, costumes, music and performance and you’ll feel like an entirely different person from the moment you arrive.
Date: 24-30 April 2017
Venue: Tankwa, Karoo, Western Cape
Cost: R1495
Contact: or visit the Afrikaburn Facebook page


7. Vortex – Phoenix Festival of Fire

Trance your heart out at the Vortex Festival

Trance your heart out at the Vortex Festival

Vortex involves three days of back-to-back DJs in a secluded forest, surrounded by mountains. Think bright colours, beautifully shaded surroundings and beats that’ll make you forget where you are. It’s a pure and true psychedelic trance party. Fire is a symbol of rebirth and growth. The Vortex Phoenix Festival of Fire celebrates this element.
Date: 23-25 June 2017
Venue: Riveriersonderend, Western Cape
Cost: From R350
Contact: or go to the Vortex Trance Adventures Facebook page for updates


8. Oppikoppi


Probably the original live rock festival in South Africa, Oppikoppi is a city of rock and you can expect just that. Thousands make the trek to Northam annually, despite the dust, the heat and the lack of shade. Oppikoppi is still the ultimate festival that any lover of rock should attend at least once. Oppikoppi is the home of the rock music festival and you’ll get to see many incredibly talented local bands playing their most ultimate sets.
Date: 4-6 August 2017
Venue: Northam, Limpopo
Cost: From R850
Contact: or go to the Oppikoppi Festival Facebook page


9. Rocking the Daisies

Rocking the Daisies, Darling. Photo by Adel Groenewald

Rocking the Daisies, Darling. Photo by Adel Groenewald

Rocking the Daisies has grown into what is probably Cape Town’s biggest live music festival. It also signifies the unofficial start to the rock music festival season. Rocking the Daisies attracts about 15 000 locals every year, meaning that the international acts are quite impressive too. This year you can look forward to rapper Mac Miller, AKA, Nakhane Toure, Desmond and the Tutus, Foster the People, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Nevis and more. Off course the local indie, folk and rock acts are just as entertaining. But, at Daisies, the bands aren’t the only attraction. The scenic, mountainous location is transformed into a mini village, with a market, a large variety of food stalls (probably the closest to gourmet you’ll get at a festival), a comedy tent, beach bar, cinema tent, children’s play area, beat barn and a more-than-massive electro dome that’ll definitely see you through to morning.
Date: 6-9 October 2017
Venue: Cloof Wine Estate, Darling, Western Cape
Cost: From R795 for a weekend pass
Contact: or the Rocking The Daisies Facebook page


10. Back to the City Festival

On Freedom Day, thousands of young South Africans celebrate the holiday through Hip Hop music.

On Freedom Day, thousands of young South Africans celebrate the holiday through Hip Hop music.

Freedom Day in Jozi will be like no other. The Back to the City Festival returns for the 11th year for all the hip hop heads. This year the event will bring a surprise International artist, there will be three stages with 40 local MCs, 12 National DJs, Bboys busting a few moves, beatboxers, graffiti artists a beer garden and a hip hop summit. The Back to the City Festival is a youth event that has grown into a public display for both commercial and underground hip hop in South Africa
Date: 27 April 2017
Venue: Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown Johannesburg
Cost: From R200
Contact: or the Back to the City Facebook page

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