The year in fests

By Chanel Pallent & Kabelo Mosate

Festivals play a huge part in South African culture. Activate takes a look at the most prominent festivals taking place this year.

Splashy Fen

Dubbed as the “ultimate outdoor experience”, Splashy Fen is South Africa’s longest-running music festival. Beginning in 1990, Splashy Fen has made Underberg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the place to be every Easter (this year from 9 – 13 April). Reputed as a festival for all ages, Splashy Fen attracts about 10 000 people every year. See for more information.


Oppikoppi, a music festival held in the bushveld of the Limpopo Province, is an event which runs from 24-26 April. The festival promises to play host to great artists from all genres, fantastic food and one hell of a memorable camping experience. The band line-up for this year is still to be confirmed. has all the info.

Vodacom Durban July

Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the Vodacom Durban July, takes place on 4 July 2009. Over 50 000 people are expected to pack Durban’s Greyville racecourse. The event generates a massive R190 million, so it’s no wonder you’ll see South Africa’s elite dressing to the nines for this year’s theme ‘Games people play’. For more info, check out

National Arts Festival

From 2 – 11 July this year, the National Arts Festival once again rocks Grahamstown. Festival-goers are exposed to an abundance of arts and culture, as well as a vibrant atmosphere unlike any other. The events include music, street theatre, dance as well as studio art. Bookings open at Computicket in May.


This year, Woodstock’s 10th anniversary fest will take place from the 27-30 November at Riversands Farm, Gauteng. The festival offers a complete outdoors experience with campsites, paintball and beer gardens all running until the wee hours. The event features artists like Wonderboom, 16 Stitch, Prime Circle and Van Coke Kartel. Tickets at Computicket.


Held in Bathurst, Oxbraai has made a legendary name for itself as one of the biggest gatherings of people over New Year’s. The Bathurst Show Grounds play host to various parties and campsites that draw people in from all over South Africa at the end of December every year. More information can be accessed from their Facebook page.

So do yourself a favour this year and go to one of the above-mentioned festivals. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget.


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