Lira performing at the cultural evening to commemorate the Inauguration of the President at Monte Casino

The 10-day Arts Alive Festival has a strong music line-up with the Newtown Music Festival and Jazz on the Lake as the highlights.

As is tradition, Jazz on the Lake takes place on the first Sunday of September – that’s September 2. Thandiswa Mazwai, although she hasn’t released a new song in years – is on the line-up, as is Lira, who is riding high with her DVD, The Captured Tour.

Vusi Mahlasela, who celebrated 20 years in the music industry with an awesome set at Oppikoppi, will delight with his ethereal African voice. There will be also Cape Town’s Bokani Dyer, Maleh and a Nigerian artist, Bez.

Puisano Live Music will present L8 Antique. This festival attracts more than 15 000 people, including kids. Most bring cooler boxes and camping chairs and settle in for an afternoon of good music.

A new and brave addition to Arts Alive is the Newtown Music Festival taking place on September 7 and 8 at Mary Fitzgerald Square.

Friday night sees the accent fall on kwaito with a strong line-up. Magesh is on a high with a series of hits from his latest album, Heist. Big Nuz will fly up from Durban to give us taste of their kwaito. The big Zulus always put on a spirited performance. Magesh returns as Tokollo when he performs with Kabelo and Zwai as TKZee. Again we can expect an excellent set from this legendary band.

In terms of that dance Afropop sound, Donald is the hottest property right now. The cheeky babelette Bucie will offer house and some sexy dancing, while PRO will rock hip hop kasi style delivered with sexy testosterone.

On Saturday Professor will be the headline act. He will be representing Kalawa kwaito with his Durban twist. The city will also be represented by the hip hop act Zakwe. The Teargas project, Cashtime, is booked, as is Kabomo, whose live performances are going from strength to strength.

Audiences will be in for a rare appearance by the raunchy Thembi Seete, who, after all these years, still gives one of the best live shows in the country.

Another great live performer is AKA, who rocked Oppikoppi with a live band. He will team up with Khuli Chana for this show.

And finally, the hottest live dance act, Black Motion, will also perform. Their use of drums in their shows takes us to the very roots of our primal beings.

Doors open at 8pm every day.

While the festival is happening there will also be performances in various venues around Mary Fitzgerald Square. These include Ko’Spotong, Nikki’s Oasis and Sophiatown.

While the line-ups for the two main events are strong and well thought out, perhaps the organisers should give thought to the fact that SA and Joburg have a vibrant rock scene. Just look at the 20 000 who attended Oppikoppi. White people play music, too.