Festivals are a big deal all over the world, especially for the black community which has used festivals as a way of preserving and promoting their culture and way of life. The art of cultural festivals for the black community started in Africa and slowly spread throughout the world among black people especially in the Caribbean.
In Africa, older festivals for a long time were the only ones that have been celebrated and honoured. However, the turn of the 20th century brought with it the birth of new festivals that express and show the new way of life in contemporary Africa.
If you love touring your continent or are yet to visit Africa and want to spend the little time you have for a quality break, check out these 5 contemporary African festivals you can attend.
Fez Festival of World Sacred Music – Morocco / Fri, Jun 14, 2019 – Sat, Jun 22, 2019
One of the biggest music festivals in Africa happens up north in Morocco in June. Every year, the rather silent parts of Africa becomes the temporary home of thousands of music lovers and traditional musicians for the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music. The 9-day festival is an open display of the wonders of Fez, the country’s cultural capital and most importantly traditional and sacred African music. Now in its 25th year in 2019, the festival attracts traditional and sacred music makers from all over the world and is a must-attend for lovers of music yearning for a taste of difference when it comes to music in Africa by Africans.
Chale Wote Festival – Ghana / August 13 – 25, 2019
Held in James Town, one of the oldest communities in Ghana along the shores of the Gulf of Guinea (the Atlantic Ocean), the Chale Wote Street Art Festival is one of Ghana’s biggest contemporary festivals that has gone on to become a must-attend for Africans and black diasporians. A themed festival is an annual event that brings art, music, dance, and performance out into the streets. The festival targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art together.
Lake of Stars Festival – Malawi / Sept 27 – 29, 2019
Truly a festival with a difference, the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi is a must-attend if you don’t only love the arts but love to soak up the sun close to the beach. Hosted at Lake Malawi, Africa’s third-largest lake, the festival not only treats attendees to music, art, movies, food and all-night party, it also provides a close to nature feel with the lake and the beautiful sight of the stars at night. Since 2004 every September, the festival has brought people from all over the world to have a taste of Malawi and Africa. Its musical showcase is slowly becoming the biggest in Southern Africa. The festival also offers sporting activities, touring travels as well as visits to orphanages to make donations.
Out In Africa South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – South Africa / July-November 2019
There are several festivals on the continent, however not many are for the LGBT community and that is why the Out In Africa South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival held in Johannesburg and Cape Town is a very important addition to the list of festivals you should attend. The festival shows movies concerning the Gay and Lesbian community and hosts discussions and workshops for more awareness.
Ake Arts & Books Festival 2019 – Nigeria / 24- 27 Oct, 2019
If you love books and the arts then the Ake Arts & Books Festival 2019 is a festival you should have marked on your calendar. The festival brings together the African literati both in and outside of the continent and has some of the biggest names in the literature space together. With readings, book signings and discussions on topics concerning the arts as well as a great display of culture, you are sure to consider moving to Nigeria after the 4-day festival.