Swaziland's Bushfire fest celebrates 10 years with star-studded line-up

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of Southern African’s biggest music festivals, an impressive line-up of regional and international artists has been confirmed to perform at this year’s MTN Bushfire in Swaziland from 27 to 29 May.

Ghorwane from Mozambique will perform at MTN Bushfire in Swaziland. Photo: Facebook
Ghorwane from Mozambique will perform at MTN Bushfire in Swaziland. Photo: Facebook

Recently added to this year’s stellar line-up are US-based Ghanaian rapper Blitz the Ambassador (who headlined Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar in 2015 and was recently announced as a finalist in the Midem Artist Accelerator programme) and Zimbabwe’s legendary Oliver Mtukudzi, who last performed at Bushfire in 2014. Bushfire will also welcome the iconic Ghorwane from neighbouring Mozambique, well-travelled singer Maya Kamaty from Reunion (who last year performed at Moshito in Johannesburg, as well as Visa For Music in Morocco, among many other gigs) and France-based funk outfit Vaudau Game, led by charismatic Togolese frontman Peter Solo (who will also headline the upcoming Fete de la Musique in Johannesburg on 21 June).

Added to the bill from South Africa are Afrocentric indie band Beatenberg (who one year ago surprised many by cleaning up at the SA Music Awards), rapper and self-styled ‘Third World Boss’ AKA (who late last year added AFRIMMA and SA Hip-Hop Awards to his trophy cabinet) and 13-piece South African band The Rudimentals, legends of the local ska scene for over a decade. Other homegrown acts added to the bill are traditional maskandi musician Vukuzithathe and talented Swazi guitarist Sibusiso Nkhambule.

Travelling to Swaziland from other continents will be fast-rising Canadian singer Cold Specks, soulful, experimental artist Estère from New Zealand, six-piece Australian dub/reggae band Kingfisha, Spanish duo Za! and DJ Dawee from Berlin-based soundsystem and label SWS.

These top-notch artists will join others who were announced earlier this year, including Mali’s internationally acclaimed world-music stars Songhoy Blues. South African artists already confirmed including the celebrated Afro-pop duo Mafikizolo, new genre-defying collective Bombshelter Beast ft. Pitch Black Afro, and cutting-edge acts such as Native Young, Nomadic Orchestra, Felix Laband and Toby2Shoes. Representing Swaziland will be local favourites Bholoja, Nomzamo ‘Zaza’ Dlamini and Fanaza. Already announced from further afield are Pablo Nouvelle from Switzerland and Austrian duo Living Room, made up of percussionist Manu Delago and clarinetist Pepe Auer.

In addition to hosting acts from over 17 countries, MTN Bushfire will welcome thousands of music fans from around the world, who will ‘bring their fire’ and enjoy the full offering of arts and cultural activities.

According to the festival’s founder and director Jiggs Thorne, “Bushfire has illuminated and inspired over the last ten years and in the process has become a celebrated African festival.”

All tickets and camping for MTN Bushfire 2016 are available online only – with no physical ticket outlets open this year. With MTN Bushfire 2015 tickets selling out completely before the festival gates even opened, fans are encouraged to book early via the Bushfire website.

Watch highlights of last year’s festival in the video below.



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