The 11th annual MTN Bushfire Festival was a celebration of music, diversity, environmental sustainability and the arts, enjoyed over the weekend by a total of over 29,000 people. Guests and artists from over 60 countries enjoyed a peaceful weekend under the beautiful Swaziland skies.
From a musical point of view, MTN Bushfire 2017 was a journey across the world and through generations.
Newcomers to the MTN Bushfire stage included the exceptional and experimental JoJo Abbot, Kwesta and Nigerian sensation Femi Koya, whilst returning artists included Jeremy Loops and the legendary Hugh Masekela. Masekela’s Sunday afternoon set saw thousands of Bushfire revelers still in full festival mode and was a memorable highlight of the weekend.
The legendary Tkzee also had fans both old and new on their feet for their headline set on Saturday night, whilst Zimbabwe’s Jah Prayzah was also a standout, with a strong Zimbabwean contingent sharing their passion for this artist with the rest of the crowd. Swaziland’s own Sands received a massive greeting from the home crowd.
This year’s strong Sunday line-up that included Bombino from Niger, Baloji, Hugh Masekela, and a beautiful sundown set from Swazi artist Bhaloja saw the festival’s largest ever Sunday attendance with over 9,000 people. The party went on well into the night with the official after-party inside the House on Fire venue.
MTN Bushfire’s Bring Your Fire Zone, a new addition this year, also saw thousands of festival guests engaging in a host of interactive activities designed to promote the theme of environmental sustainability. There were 18 activators in the Bring Your Fire Zone, activations spanning a broad spectrum in the environmental / arts activism spheres, and at every stall there was something to do and some way for people to interact.
These stalls included the United Nations Development Programme, Greenpeace, Yebo Gallery, Young Heroes, Bomake Rural Projects, the Swaziland Environment Authority, the Swaziland Water Services Corporation, All Out Africa Foundation (as Khula Tree Project in conjunction with Greenpop), and Conservation Music.
With so many people in attendance, the MTN Bushfire team was especially proud of the commitment that traders, guests and artists all made to their theme of environmental sustainability, #GreenYourFire. Recycling bins were located across the festival and almost all containers and other materials used during the event will be recycled.
The Zone also hosted a permaculture workshop by permaculture activists Moyomti during the festival as well as the largest ever exhibition at the festival in conjunction with Yebo Gallery, with over 70 artworks from 36 artists located in Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and elsewhere.
MTN Bushfire has promise to continue this commitment to sustainability as it heads into its 12th edition, scheduled for the 25th -27th of May 2018. Be on the look out for early bird tickets, as Full Festival tickets for this year’s event sold out days before the gates opened.