The 2013 MTN BushFire festival is taking place on 31 May – 1 June 2013 in Swaziland. I was recently invited to the Joburg launch of the festival , where we were treated to the the soulful tunes of Nakhane Toure and the crazy boys in gold tights – and one of my favourite new bands – The Brother Moves On, both of whom are playing at BushFire 2013.
My favourite festival
BushFire is definitely my favourite festival. I’ve been to all the previous BushFires, from the first in 2007, when I fortunately chanced across the festival on a roadtrip back from Mozambique. Its been exciting to see the festival grow over the years from a few thousand people to over 20,000 last year.
During the past 6 years I’ve got to see amazing artists from all over Africa and the world just by hopping across the border to Swaziland. A few of my musical highlights of BushFires past include Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Aly Keita, Ayo, MiCasa, Habib Koite, Vusi Mahlasela, Dobet Gnahoré, Thandiswa, Habib Koite, and Freshly Ground just to name a few..
BushFire 2013 Line-up
With an eclectic mix of world, rock, jazz, electro and everything in-between, the line up looks promising. The festival is headlined by Colombia’s Bomba Estereo, voted MTV’s Best New Band in 2010, who combine traditional Colombian Cumbo music with electro beats. I’m also excited to seeing Oy, a Ghanian/Swiss artist with her jazzy-experimental-hip-hop sounds and Niger desert blues man, Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla. Other acts confirmed include the likes of Black Motion, The Soil, DJ Euphonik, Big Fkn Gun (BFG), Masikane, Gcina Mhlope, Nathalie Natiembe, Mix n Blend, Jeremy Loops and Shangaan Electro.
The most amazing thing about BushFire is the fantastic atmosphere created by the backdrop of the spectacular Swazi scenery and the people who attend. It’s magical setting, sustainable ethos and harmonious energy sets it apart from all other festivals. Set in the lush Malkerns valley, backlit by fiery mountain sunsets in the eclectic fantasy-world that is House on Fire, the three day music & arts festival celebrates creative expression whilst promoting social responsibility.
Donating 100% of its profits to Aids orphans through the Swazi NGO, Young Heroes, and 100% of merchandise proceeds to the non-profit rural community development project, Gone Rural BoMake, the festival is a model for responsible tourism.
I love that the festival is chilled out during the day, with the proper party starting as the sun goes down. The crowd is well mixed, both in age and race, which is not common with South African festivals. Its also perfect for families, with family-friendly performances and a well-equipped KidZone. Besides the amazing Pan-African musical line-up there is also theatre, poetry, drumming and visual arts.
Bring your fire… and your cash
One of my favourite things about BushFire is the superb craft market, with its wide range of homemade FairTrade Swazi products. I always take extra cash and leave Swaziland with twice as much stuff than I came with, not to mention leaving with feel-good vibes from supporting the local economy.
The theme for the 2013 BushFire festival is “Bring Your Fire”, a call to action to engage artists and audiences alike in to igniting a collective response for positive change. Bring it on! More faya!!!
Booking, Travel and accommodation
Dates: 31 May – 1 June 2013
Tickets: From R150 for day passes and R400 for a weekend pass online at www.bushfire.co.sz.
Accomodation: You don’t have to camp!! Check out www.swazi.travel for accomnodation options