For years, festivals have become an important aspect of the industry and culture as a whole. Here in South Africa, we have quite a number of festivals that cater to different markets, including music, art, motoring, gaming, and technology.
Last year gave many organizers an opportunity to get back on track following the two-year-long pandemic that entirely shut down the events industry.
While festivals are curated to entertain and give fans a fun-filled and memorable experience, they also run into some challenges and criticism. Unfortunately, last year we saw a number of festivals fail to give even the bare minimum.
Dstv Delicious Festival, which booked Burna Boy as the main headliner, is the perfect example. The festival, which was sold out, failed to give its attendees the experience they paid for. Many fans were angered by the poor logistics and organization this festival provided, from access to the venue, the ticketing system, and buying food and beverages.
Another festival that got a sour taste from attendees was Homecoming Africa, specifically for its poor logistics, including transportation, inconvenient location, and beverage options.
Such factors come into play when putting together a festival, and they should be a top priority. Yes, you can have a great line-up with the best headliners, but if you don’t pay attention to a variety of factors to accommodate attendees, your festival can end up being a disaster. With that in mind, watch Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 on Netflix to get a sense of what a festival disaster looks like.
However, we also have to give props to organizers who made sure that fans got the best experience when they attended their festivals.
Below, we rate the best dominating festivals in South Africa based on:
Lineup: A well-rounded and diverse lineup of popular and up-and-coming artists
Location/Venue: A location or venue that is convenient and easy to enter and exit, as well as having adequate infrastructure for festival capacity
Influence and Popularity: How popular the festival is and how influential it is in the festival landscape
Logistics: A well-planned and executed logistical plan that includes transportation, a ticketing system, security, and food and beverage options
Overall experience: A well-curated plan of activities to entertain festival-goers from performances, stage design, interactive activities, food, and brand activations
Marketing and build-up: Communicating details about the festival with effective marketing and promotion
*Note: these are the festivals we have attended, so this is a first-hand experience.
Here is our ranking of top 9 festivals of 2022:
9. BMW M Fest
Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, JHB
Put together by BMW South Africa, the 2-day festival presents fans with Live music performances, Beer Garden, Kids Area and of course the M power experience with track shows, car displays and test drive experiences.
8. FNB Art Joburg
Sandton Convention Centre, JHB
FNB Art Joburg is the leading and longest-running contemporary African art fair on the continent. FNB Art Joburg plays an instrumental role in developing and sustaining a commercial industry that centers around African and diasporic practitioners. The festival also has a programme of art, music, performance, food, and fashion across the city.
7. Festival of Motoring
26-28 August 2022
Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, JHB
The four-day extravaganza is all things motoring, racing, food, music, kids play area and fun activities.
Festival of Motoring unveils an astonishing selection of powerful supercars, hypercars, bikes, and breaking records in top speed. Top car companies, including Audi, Suzuki, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Baic, Lexus, VW, Haval, and more, hit center stage at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit to showcase their latest cars.
6. Back to the City
Mary Fitzgerald Square, JHB
The hip-hop-themed festival hosts a line-up of artists, jocks, graffiti artists, breakdancers, skaters, and live bands, all representing the pinnacle of artistic expression from South Africa.
5. Spring Fiesta Music
Wild Waters Complex, Boksburg
Over a decade in the making, the Spring Fiesta is home to House Music and other evolving genres including hip-hop, amapiano. The festival with multiple stages takes place at the well-loved party destination Wild Waters Complex in Boksburg.
4. Cotton Fest
23 – 24 April
Old Park Station, Newtown, JHB
Given birth by the late Ricky Rick, this one-day urban music and fashion explosion merge both well-known and young emerging South African artists and showcase the diversities in hip-hop while fusing the gaps within the different local movements.
3. Corona Sunsets
9 – 10 April
The Edgar Lipsett Oval, Clifton, CPT
Huddle Park, Linksfield, JHB
The popular South African summer festival event takes place in both Cape Town and Joburg presenting the finest local and international artists. The event also gives fans the best-tailored experience.
2. Comic Con Africa
22 – 25 Sep
Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, JHB
The weekend-long convention showcases characters from your favorite movies and series, A-List celebrities, gaming festival, art, top tournaments to not only watch but compete in, and an exciting and vibrant world of pop culture.
1. Rocking the Daisies
Cloof Wine Estate, Darling (CPT) and Supersport Park, Centurion (PTA)
The festival takes place in two cities, Cape Town and Joburg featuring a musical lineup over two very different locations: a winery estate and an urban sports park. The three-day festival offers the best musical experience with its excellently curated line-up, best stage designs, and production. Festivalgoers also get to have a full-on festival experience and enjoy interactive activities.
That’s our ranking for last year’s festivals; we would love to hear from you about which festival(s) you attended that gave you the best experience.