Let’s Know More About East Africa’s Music Festivals

“…And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

Once said Nietzche.

We are pretty sure that you admire music and love dancing. So, why not count a music festival into your next trip and cheer your vacation up? If you are already planning where you are going to visit this time, you may want to check our list about best East African music festivals. Do not miss the opportunity to be a part of this experience that you will never regret. If you already decided on your dance moves, click here to book your flight!

1- Sauti za Busara


Photo Credit: Daily News TZ

Address: Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Date: 7-10 February 2019

Tickets: 980-23,547 KES (9-210 USD)

“Sauti za Busara is one of my favourite times to be in Zanzibar. There’s a lovely vibe in Stonetown as everyone comes together, and you can meet and mingle with the musicians in cafes and bars. The full four days can be exhausting so pace yourself, and you’ll have the best time!” -sherrywolf

You may have missed this year’s event but it never too late to be charmed by its lovely ambience. Being one of the biggest music festivals in Africa, Sauti zi Basura takes place each February in Stone Town in Zanzibar. This 4-days-of festival brings people from all around the world together but it mostly unites African community to celebrate the diversity and wealth of the continent. With its name directly translating as ‘sound of wisdom’, the festival is more than just an entertainment area; it is also a convenient environment to share cultural knowledge. You will never get tired of listening to a huge line-up of this festival and dancing all 4 days.

2- Nyege Nyege

Photo Credit: Mixmag

Address: Nile Discovery Beach, Jinja, Uganda

Date: 2019 dates are not announced yet.

Tickets: Was 4000 KES (40 USD) in 2018.

An experience like never before… Fullmoon with bright stars in the sky.
Lots of music… A feed for the soul. Where else would someone want to be other than Jinja for the festival again… It is always a trip worth it.”  -A’Grande Bunny Vince

Nyege Nyege Festival, which takes place in Jinja, hosts over 200 artists in 5 stages for 4 days! This enormous event is one of the best reasons to fly to Uganda. With its main focus on African musicians, it welcomes participants all around the globe. You will be fulfilled with underground and electronic music along the Victoria Lane.

3- Safaricom International Jazz Festival

Photo Credit: Safaricom Jazz Festival Official Website

Address: Kasarani Training Grounds, Kenya

Date: VIP Show, 15th February

           Main festival, 17th February

Tickets: VIP show: 10 000 KES (100 USD)

               Main festival: 2 000 KES (20 USD) for adults and 500 KES (5 USD) for students

“An Exceptional, Unforgettable Music Experience”

Safaricom Jazz Festival is an important meeting for jazz fans since its inception in 2014. Besides it being a gathering for music, dance and entertainment; Safaricom Jazz support “Ghetto Classics”, which is a non-profit community who tries to help youth with the unprivileged background. If you are already a Jazz fan, there is not a better way to gather with others.

4- Lake of Stars

Photo Credit: The Guardian

Address: Kabumba Hotel, Salima, Malawi

Date: 2019 dates are not announced yet.

Tickets: 15,119-18,359 KES (148-180 USD) was in 2018.

The Festival was the bomb, sleeping around 2 am for two consecutive days just shows that we did not go there for mahala. We had a great time me and my sisters. All the way from South Africa, we are definitely doing it again… LOS2019 we are coming for you -Mosa Chakela Wa Lepele

Being more than just a music festival, Lake of Stars has an important role in its historical background. It takes root to 1998; after Will Jameson got back to Britain from his trip to Malawi, he established a nightclub inspired from his adventures to Africa. Getting so popular in Britain, the desire of discovering Malawi has increased. 

Lake of Star Music Festival takes place on the shores of the third biggest lake of Africa, Lake Malawi. Referenced as “having the most beautiful festival location in the world” by CNN Time Out in 2015, this music event is something you should totally be keen on!

5- Bayimba International Festival of Arts

Photo Credit: Ulule

Address: Lunkulu Island, Uganda

Date: 1st-4th August 2019

Tickets: 608 KES (One-day pass) – 2,129 KES (Full pass) (6 USD – 21 USD)

International Festival of the Arts – and that is precisely what this is – a Celebration of Art and Life. So rich and authentic. I don’t suppose there is any other such festival where you are totally emersed in art while you’re away on an Island for nearly 5 days. Absolutely worth every shilling!”  -Bernard Olupot Ewalu

We have talked all about music festival but why not add some visual arts to your experience? Including music, dance, poetry, storytelling, acrobatics, theatre, film, and visual arts, this festival plays an important role in celebrating the finest arts. It takes place on the shores of Lake Victoria; one of the loveliest atmospheres to intervene with art! It is very exciting to think about gathering all those committed and passionate artist. If you are looking for an adventure in the first week of August, do not overlook this opportunity and make your trip unforgettable.

6- B-Global Indigenous Hip Hop Festival

Photo Credit: AfroTourism

Address: Kampala, Uganda

Date: 2019 dates are not announced yet

Another Ugandan festival but this time with the most liberated music genre; hip-hop! B-Global aims to celebrate hip-hop culture and create a place to empower the youth through engagement on hip-hop music. This genre is a symbol of the power of the marginalized communities and their ability to liberate. The Bavubuka Foundation and The Uganda Hip Hop Foundation try to gather youth and create an ambitious atmosphere during these six days of the festival. Dates for 2019 are not announced but if you are considering to head to Uganda, keep in mind about this music festival!


That’s the end of our recommendations about the amazing festivals from East Africa for now. Why not sign up for our weekly newsletter and be the first to take advantage of fast-selling fares to your favourite destinations? Click here to never miss the best travel deals.

Have something to say...