It’s no secret, festival and touring industries have endured a nightmare for a few years as many events were postponed and cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the last year, since Covid-19 vaccines became widely available, organisers have grappled with decisions over whether to hold the events at all. The return of live music festivals and concerts last year was rocky, to say the least.
One of the few major global success stories was the “Lollapalooza” music festival in Chicago, which ran at full capacity over four days last summer and saw a whooping 400 000 attendees.
“New York Times” reported that according to data released by the city, “after the festival, infection rates among the concertgoers were low”.
With vaccines and Covid-19 testing requirements successfully in place, it proved that outdoor music events could resume with the right precautions, paving the way for the return of several other major international fests at the end of 2021.
Closer to home, not much happened last year as the industry struggled to put in place the right precautions for large scale events. Now, after the government’s recent announcement that the Covid-19 requirements on the wearing of masks and restricting events to 50% capacity were removed, we seem set to return back to normal.
There are few sights more endearing in local entertainment than the lush fields of Cloof Wine Estate in Darling, Western Cape. Part of the Cape Floral Region and home to hundreds of species of flowering plants, this picturesque location is home to “Rocking The Daisies”.
When I last went in 2017, the place resembled one of those massive European festivals with thousands of revellers donning shorts, bikinis, with many devoted fans perched on shoulders and singing each song word for word.
A highlight on the annual festival calendar “Daisies”, as it’s affectionately known to fans, is set to return after a two-year absence. This time around, Daisies will not only be taking place at Cloof Wine Estate (from October 7 – 9), it’ll also be heading to SuperSport Park in Centurion on October 9.
International acts such as Saba, Emotional Oranges and Kehlani will join local stars like Marcus Harvey, Nasty C, Focalistic and Sun-El Musician.
“The Corona Sunsets Festival” is set to return to Joburg a few weeks later on October 29 after a three-year absence from the city. This time around though, the festival will be returning to a new home on the grounds of Huddle Park, Linksfield. The line-up is yet to be announced.
Two weeks ago it was announced that the “DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival” would be returning to Gauteng’s Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit over the Heritage Day weekend of September 24 and 25.
Widely recognised as the country’s ultimate food-and-music experience, the festival will be headlined by Nigerian afrobeats star Burna Boy.
The fest’s long-awaited return will also feature performances from the likes of Babyface, Digable Planets, Major League DJz, Lebo Mashile, Simphiwe Dana, Zenzi Makeba Lee and Msaki.
In a couple of weeks, Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa, the amapiano duo who collectively go by the name Scorpion Kings, are also set to host the much-delayed and eagerly-anticipated “Scorpion Kings Live Sun Arena” on July 22 at the Sun Arena in Pretoria.
We’ve also seen the return of eSwatini’s popular “MTN Bushfire” in May and other events like the “Durban July”, which drew massive crowds at the beginning of the month.
The 48th “National Arts Festival”, which was held three weeks ago, also opened to jubilant crowds excited to experience all that the highly regarded arts festival has to offer.
In April, the late Riky Rick’s popular annual lifestyle and music festival “Cotton Fest” also drew capacity crowds over two days at its regular home at The Station in Newtown, Joburg.
Abroad, music lovers have been showing up in their tens and thousands at some of the most iconic festivals in the world.
In April, the “Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival”, a pacesetter for the multibillion-dollar touring business, kicked off the festival circuit in style by drawing upwards of 250 000 festivalgoers over two weekends with stellar performances from the likes of Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Swedish House Mafia, as well as South Africa’s very own Black Coffee, Zakes Bantwini and Major League DJz.
Two weeks ago, local amapiano stars stole the show at Portugal’s “Afronation festival”, which was headlined by Burna Boy, Wizkid and Davido. Last weekend the “Wireless Festival”, London’s massive annual rap and urban music festival, was a success despite several notable last-minute drop-outs and no-shows.
On Wednesday, Drake announced the return of his annual “OVO Festival” to its home in Toronto. The Canadian star revealed that festivities would begin on July 28 with The All Canadian North Stars kicking things off, followed by headlining performances from Chris Brown and Lil Baby on July 29, before Drake closes the fest with a historical Young Money reunion performance on August 1, featuring Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne.
It’s truly festival season further north, and with summer coming in South Africa, it’s time to get ready to groove. The pandemic isn’t over, but the availability of vaccines, booster shots and less deadly variants emerging; music lovers and the like are raring to go.