Sunshine, music, friends, awesome strangers, bush, good vibes and the best of times...
This is my definition of a music festival!
Music festivals contain some of the most unique experiences that you will ever encounter; overall it’s a few days of fun in the sun.
I ventured on my first weekend music festival three years ago and have been hooked ever since. There is something so freeing about packing up your camping gear, hopping in the car and heading out to the middle of nowhere for a few days with nothing to worry about but remembering where you set up camp.
There are quite a few weekend music festivals around South Africa; they seem to be growing popularity with a few new ones popping up each year. As you travel around South Africa you will notice that the different cities and towns all have different vibes and different kinds of people.
I have a mission to go to all the big and small music festivals around the country. Just to experience the diversity of South Africans.
Here are four awesome South African music festivals:
Probably one of South Africa’s biggest and oldest music festivals, Oppi Koppi widely known as a weekend of pure madness. The popular joke is that you should leave your name at the entrance when you come in to pick it up again on your way out – because you will lose it. Once a festival for the hardcore types is now becoming quite commercial with big sponsors, big bands and even bigger crowds.
Oppi Koppi is translated to ‘on the hill’, which is what it is. A huge campsite placed next to a ‘koppi’ where there are a total of five stages set up. One stage being on the other side of the ‘koppi’, making you have to climb over to get to or just party on top. Oppi Koppi has a diverse line up of music – from rock to commercial to dubstep, balkonology, drum and bass and other dance type music. The main attraction is the bands, with the last few years having international headline acts.
When: the weekend closest to 9 August.
Where: Northam, Limpopo.
Rocking the Daisies
Definitely one of South Africa’s prettiest and most eco friendly music festival, Rocking the Daisies in the Western Cape is a must attend festival. This festival prides itself on being green, from organising different transport initiatives to help reduce festival goers carbon footprint while travelling to the festival to having recycling stands and other eco friendly initiatives.
Not only are there awesome bands and djs, but there is comedy, a market, a theatre, food stalls, wine tasting, kiddies playground, art exhibitions and a small cinema. You will not have a minute of boredom at Rocking the Daisies.
When: beginning of October.
Where: Clook Wine Estate, Darling, Western Cape.
Another adventure filled weekend, Splashy Fen welcomes the whole family to come and enjoy a weekend of music and fun. Splashy Fen is known for not only the fantastic music line up but all of the other activities on offer. There are nearby dams and rivers where you can go fishing or tubing – hopefully sober. There is an arts and crafts market, kiddies area, tribal village, mountain biking as well as swimming facilities.
Set amongst the Drakensburg mountains in Kwa-Zulu Natal you are able to enjoy all of these adventures while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
When: the Easter long weekend.
Where: Drakensburg, Kwa Zulu Natal.
Not one of the most renowned music festivals in South Africa but quickly on its way, Synergy Live another great South African festival. It was once just a one day festival, which it still is in Johannesburg, is now a weekend festival in Cape Town. There is a very diverse line up of music with trance, rock, indie and alternative bands. They usually have one international headliner act each year, 2012 saw Prodigy entertaining the screaming crowds.
If your feet get tired of dancing you can always sit back and enjoy the awesome comedy line up or watch a movie in the cinema that the festival organisers. Or perhaps get thrown around in one of carnival style rides in the playground.
When: end of November.
Where: Theewaterskloof, Western Cape.
If you are planning a trip out to South Africa any time soon and have a love for music plan your trip around one of these festivals or the many others around the country.
Attending a music festival is one of the best ways to interact with the most interesting bunch of people.
Travel tip shared by Bridget Williamson