The 2023 edition of the MTN Bushfire Festival of the Arts was a resounding success. If there was every any doubt that the arts would not survive and revive after the pandemic, this year’s truly global gathering and celebration has proven once and for all the power of the arts to unite people from all walks of life.
MTN Bushfire extends its thanks to the over 20,000 guests in attendance, who represented 50 countries
They experienced 87 different acts from 34 countries – a true reflection of unity in diversity and the bringing to life of MTN Bushfire’s guiding principles of inclusion, tolerance, and celebration through the arts.
With the return to full capacity, MTN Bushfire beneficiaries will once again benefit significantly from ticket and merchandise sales, while the large crowds brought in significant tourism revenue to local businesses, with local arts and crafts vendors as well as food stalls benefitting from a full-strenth MTN Bushfire crowd.
Some of the performance highlights this year included a powerful show from South Africa’s Sho Madjozi on Friday night; a massive set at the Ballentine’s Firefly stage from Kabza de Small on Saturday night as well as a triumphant return to form for Black Motion.
Sunday on the MTN Bushfire Main Stage was on fire with a mesmorising performance from Ami Faku and a moving and long-awaited debut at MTN Bushfire for France’s Ibeyi.
Once again the House on Fire Ampitheatre was a journey of discovery with unique acts from around the world. Crowds were enthralled with a range of sounds including Rumbo Tumba, a one-man orchestra, playing, recording and mixing an array of exclusively artisanal wooden instruments native to South America; Javier Díez Ena, a double bass player, thereminist and electronic musician, Scúru Fitchádu, a Lusophone punk aesthetic solo project from Cape Verde artist Sette Sujidade, and an absolutely beautiful set to an overflowing venue from Lesotho’s Maleh.
The much-anticipated CollaboNation artists did not disappoint, with performances from Thobile Makhoyane (Eswatini) X The Hood Brodz (Mozambique), and Makoomba (Zimbabwe) X Morena Leraba (Lesotho) wowing crowds and creating musical history.
MTN Bushfire is more than just a music festival, and through its #BringYourFire mandate, the event also ensures the sustainability of the creative sector, especially in Eswatini through the Schools Festival progamme that saw 720 students and teachers take part in 2023.
This amazing initiative, supported by the European Union, provides arts education to primary and high school students whilst also using musc and performance to address social issues.
Additionally, the Arts Round Table (ART), this year presented in partnership with the Africa Rising Music Conference and supported by FNB Eswatini, welcomed 26 ARMC Delegates, mainly from Europe (Germany, Berlin, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and also Australia) alongside 104 Eswatini creatives, ranging from vocal artists, producers, managers, promoters and arts advocates.
The Arts Round Table covered a range of topics, such as building bridges between Africa & the rest of the world; artist etiquette, the importance of content creation for visibility; how to get booked at festivals; and empowering women in the music business.
The dates for MTN Bushfire 2024 have been confirmed for May 31st – June 2nd and all details will be available on their website.
Watch this space for updates in the Music News category on SA Music Zone.