12 festivals to check out in 2014

2014-01-20 08:49
The holidays have come to an end, a new working year has started and the temptation to feel a slight bit blue is rather strong.  

Well, we’ve got something that will make you feel a whole lot better!

Grab a pen and your diary… or more likely, open the calendar app on your phone and jot down the following dates.  There are loads of fun festivals happening right across the country that will cater for all tastes, ages and interests.  

And, just because smartphones are everyone's favourite accessory, we've added an app suggestion to enrich your experience of each festival. 

Park Acoustics, Pretoria, 26 Jan  

Park Acoustics is a monthly outdoor live music concert that takes place in the unique Fort Schanskop, Pretoria on the last Sunday of each month.

 In January Fokofpolisiekar will be headlining the event with Rambling Bones, Naming James, Late Night Fox, Flint Meet Spark and Michael Lesar supporting.

An app to add value: Virtual Zippo. If you're not a smoker (and let's face it, smoker's are kind of a dying breed), chances are you won't have a lighter to whip out and wave around when the band plays your favourite acoustic slow jam. Well, no need to worry! This nifty little app will allow you to shine a little light... but not to light your friend's cigarette, sorry! Available on Android and iOS    

Venue: Fort Schanskop, Groenkloof

Tickets: R120 online / at the door

More info: Park Acoustics website

Up the Creek, Swellendam, 30 Jan – 2 Feb 

Probably the most unpretentious, laid-back and enjoyable rock festival in South Africa, Up the Creek takes place on the banks of the Breede River nearby Swellendam and will have you humming happy tunes for weeks after.

Thirty bands and a variety of comedy acts will be dividing their energy between three different stages – meaning awesomeness everywhere you turn. The stellar line-up includes The Plastics, Jeremy Loops, Matthew Mole, Desmond & the Tutus, Shortstraw and Taxi Violence.  

An app to add value: We're going to go with good old Instagram on this one. With all those colourful lilos, beautiful people and picturesque views, you won't be able to resist taking pics... and, well, Instagram really does make the most mundane photo look infinitely cooler. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: Breede River Valley Campsite  

Tickets: R650 – full weekend, R500 – Saturday and Sunday only

More info: Up the Creek website

Hands-on Harvest, Robertson, 1 Feb – 30 March  

The Robertson Wine Valley will be hosting a whopping two-month-long harvest festival, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the magic of harvest for a day – without having to quit their day jobs!

Different wine farms in the area will be presenting different programs, so you can select which sounds like the most fun to you. What makes this even cooler is the fact that groups are kept small and intimate, allowing you to really soak up the experience – from grape picking and bunch sorting to grape stomping and wine tasting. This, however, also means that you will have to book asap to avoid disappointment.

Take a look at the preliminary programme for 2014 and start making your selections.

An app to add value: Vine. Not only does it have an appropriate name, but will also allow you to immortalise your weekend of harvesting in a series of short, punchy and fun videos. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: Various wine farms (including Arendsig, Ashton, Bonnievale Cellar and Excelsior)

Tickets: Varies between free and R600 pp, depending where you go and what you do

More info: Hands-on Harvest website

Ultra Music Festival, Cape Town & Johannesburg, 14 & 15 Feb  

Yup, that’s right! The world’s premier electronic event will be heading to our shores this year, featuring an array of fabulous local and international djs.  

The line-up includes Tiesto, Nicky Romero, Krewella, Mi Casa, Goldfish and DJ Fresh.  

Venue: Cape Town – Ostrich Farm, Johannesburg – Expo Centre, Nasrec

Tickets: Between R650 and R1 100

An app to add value: Soundhound. Heard something that you definitely want to add to your playlist for future parties?  Then download this app that can recognize a song by humming a tune or playing it from a speaker in about four seconds. It also allows you to get up-to-date information on touring artists, watch music videos, purchase songs and view lyrics. Available on Android and IOS
More info: Ultra Music Festival website

Clarens Craft Beer Fest, Clarens, 21 – 23 Feb

The picturesque Free State town of Clarens has become practically synonymous with craft beer, as this festival grows from strength to strength each year. Whether you’re serious about your brews, or merely out to have a good time the Clarens Beer Fest is sure to surpass all expectations.

The event will kick off with a concert on the Friday night featuring Matthew Mole, Slipstream, Van Smith and Rooibaardt.

An app to add value: Beer Hunt. Ever dreamed of being rewarded for all the many beers you drink. Well, this app does just that! You get points every time you log a beer into your beer profile depending on what type of beer it is. More points if it's a rare beer, a beer from a far away country, or simply a beer you've never tried before. Which basically means, you will be raking in points at the Clarens Beer Festival. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: Town Square, Clarens

Tickets: R150 for the whole weekend, R100 for either Saturday or Sunday.  

More info: Clarens Craft Beer Fest website 

Nitro Circus, Cape Town, Durban & Joburg, 15, 19 and 22 Feb  

Watch the most difficult and dangerous stunts in freestyle motocross, BMX and skate with star athletes from across the world performing the biggest and best tricks off Nitro Circus Live’s multi-million dollar set and famous, 50-foot high Nitro Gigant-A-Ramp!

An app to add value: BMX Extreme. While you certainly won't be watching any of the more than 1 000 videos on the app during the circus, you may want to brush up on your BMX history and facts in the wiki section. Only available on iOS

Venue: Cape Town – Cape Town Stadium, Durban – Moses Mabhida Stadium, Joburg – FNB Stadium

Tickets: Tickets cost between R330 and R1810 per person and are available from Computicket.

More info: Big Concerts

Flamjangled Tea Party, Durbanville, 28 Feb – 2 March

A very liberal, melting pot of musical mayhem, artistic tomfoolery, culture mashing and absolute hilarity. Sound like fun to you?

Well, then this weekend-long outdoor party is most definitely for you! While it always presents an excellent line-up of bands, the party is really more about experience. Expect themed areas and loads of people sporting fancy dress (so, be sure to pack yours too!).

Not too much has been revealed about this year’s event, but keep a close eye on their Facebook page for updates.

An app to add value: Victorinox Festival ReadyThe company that gained fame for creating the best Swiss army knives, has made every festival-lover's life easier by designing this music festival multi-tool for your phone. It features a packing checklist, weather updates, emergency medical instructions, and a geotagging feature that helps you keep track of your tent and the whereabouts of your friends. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: Contermanskloof Wine Farm, Durbanville

Tickets: To be confirmed

More info: The Flamjangled Tea Party Facebook page

Franschhoek Oesfees, 22 March

Held on an annual basis, the Franschhoek Oesfees is one of South Africa’s authentic harvest festivals and takes the form of a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to the valley’s farm-workers, to celebrate their hard work and bless the year’s harvest.

Each year the festival team scouts the winelands and hand picks a number of local musical gems. These amateur and professional bands from all over the Boland flock to Solms-Delta’s outdoor stage, entertaining thousands of revelers who bop and sway to the sounds of goema, Cape Jazz, langarm, vastrap and boeremusiek.

Rustic local cuisine is served all day. And of course, loads of lovely local wines.  

An app to add value: Uber. Since you will be drinking loads of wine at this festival, you really shouldn't be driving. Instead use this app to order a taxi service. Available on Android and IOS

Venue: Solms Delta wine farm, Franschhoek  

Tickets: To be confirmed

More info: Solms Delta website

Cape Town Jazz Festival, 28 – 29 March

Now in its 15th year of existence, the Cape Town International Jazz festival has become renowned among jazz-lovers and –artists worldwide.  

This year’s line-up is expected to comprise 40 stellar acts from across the country and the globe, so far only 20 have been announced. They include Jimmy Nevis, Erykah Badu, Soul Housing Project, Rakesh Chaurasia and Friends and Hiatus Kaiyote.

An app to add value: Shazam. What's cool about the jazz fest, is the fact that it features both established artists and lesser known ones. So, chances are you might hear a few really cool songs, but not know what they are. Well, Shazam will help you identify it. All you need to do, is whip out your phone, hold it towards the speakers and see if the app knows more jazz than you do. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: CTICC

Tickets: Weekend passes have been sold out. Day passes – R490

More info: Cape Town Jazz Festival website

Bot River Barrels & Beards, 5 April

The winemakers of Bot River and surrounds have a very special way of celebrating their harvest season. At the end of February (the beginning of the harvest season), all winemakers stop shaving and are judged on the day by an – ahem - impartial and sober panel of judges as to length, character and whatever criteria that is thought up by this esteemed body of men and women.

Apart from the beard competition, you can also expect to enjoy some of the country’s best kept wine secrets and some delicious cuisine!

An app to add value: Beardify. If you didn't get the memo in time and find yourself clean-shaven among the rugged and manly winemakers of the Bot River valley (or you're a woman), join in the fun by filling facial hair on all your photos. It's silly, but so hilarious! Available only on iOS 

Venue: Old Shed on Anysbos farm

Tickets: To be confirmed (bookings only)

More info: Check out the Bot River wines website or email nicolene@botriverwines.co.za

Splashy Fen, Underberg, 17 – 21 April  

Established in 1990, Splashy Fen is South Africa's longest-running music festival. This unique outdoor experience takes place over the Easter weekend and attracts thousands of diverse revelers to a farm just outside Underberg in KwaZulu-Natal's Southern Drakensberg region every year.

Artists performing this year include Dan Patlansky, Just Jinger, Matthew Mole, Tree 63 and Wonderboom. The festival is also family friendly, with lots of activities and safe areas for your tots to have a great time.

An app to add value: Find my friendsA slightly stalkerish app, but very useful for a big festival like splashy. Using GPS technology the app helps you track the friends you've added. So, get your group to download the app before heading to the festival and keep tabs on each other's whereabouts more easily. Available on Android and iOS

Venue: Splashy Fen Farm, Underberg

Tickets: R700 per person arriving on Thursday 17 April or Friday 18 April R500 per person arriving on Saturday 19 April R200 per person arriving on Sunday 20 April

More info: Splashy Fen website

AfrikaBurn, Tankwa Karoo, 28 April – 4 May

Loosely based on Nevada's annual Burning Man, this art festival seeks to create a temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in a non-commercial environment.

What this means is that you can leave your wallets at home, as money has no value here. The whole festival economy works on a gift exchange basis... so get the creative juices flowing beforehand to make some desirable goodies to give to others in exchange for equally awesome trinkets.

You can also pack your pots and pans to open a make-shift restaurant, after all everyone needs to eat at some point!

An app to add value: PhotosynthIf there was a prize for the most photogenic festival out there, AfrikaBurn would win hands down. The austere desert scenery, combined with crazy art installations and all sorts of quirky people makes for excellent pictures... that are even better in panoramic format. This app helps you to capture the entire scene by allowing you to pan up and down, as well as left to right. Only available on iOS 

Venue: Tankwa Town  

Tickets: R870 (tickets go on sale on 2nd February – best to jump on it quicky, tickets tend to sell out within seconds)

More info: AfrikaBurn website  
Read more on:    travel  |  travel south africa  |  festivals

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