The best festivals in Joburg this spring

20 Aug 2019
created 20 Aug 2019
Spring is in the air and the arrival of warmer days and longer evenings brings with it an events calendar packed with fun food, wine, music and art festivals. Here's our guide to some of the best festivals happening in Joburg this spring to look out for.

Sunday September 1
Jazz in the Cradle

This year, the ninth edition of Nirox Sculpture Park's annual jazz concert Jazz in the Cradle presents "Crafting New Rooted Rhythms", a celebration of the new styles of jazz created by South Africa's young jazz innovators. The line-up includes an array of exciting local jazz collectives including Soul Housing Project, Mandla Mlangeni and Friends, Ziza Muftic and The Shapeshifting Trio, plus delicious food trucks and plenty of boutique wines. 

Sunday September 1
Jazz on the Lake

Part of the annual Arts Alive festival Jazz on the Lake brings together legends and contemporary rising stars alike for a lazy Sunday of free music in the park at Zoo Lake. This year's performers include Michel Herrera and Madre Tierra Band from Cuba, Afrika Mkhize's jazz collective Tune Recreational Committee and popular Afro-soul, pop and house artists such as Tamy Moyo (Zimbabwe), Vusi Nova, Sjava, Bucie and Ami Faku.

September 6 - 8
Fire and Feast Meat and Food Festival

Now in its third year, the Fire and Feast Meat and Food Festival returns this spring celebrating the South African meat industry and all things braai related. Hosting celebrity chefs, foodies, braai-masters, butchers and industry experts, entertainment is also lined up with MiCasa, Robbie Wessels, Kobus de Kock Jnr and Andre Kriel from Black Cat Bones and Wonderboom performing over the weekend. There's also plenty of wine to pair with your meat prepared the classic South African way (on the braai) and in Thai, Japanese, Turkish, Indian, Moroccan, Mexican, Portuguese and Korean styles.

September 6 - 8
South African Book Fair

Part of National Book Week, the annual South African Book Fair (SABF) brings together more than 50 African authors, journalists and critics for a weekend packed with literary discussion, storytelling and, of course, book sales. This year's fair, themed #OurStories, takes place at Constitution Hill and the packed programme includes workshops on topics ranging from creative writing to Zulu for beginners, the Keorapetsi Kgositsile poetry festival, the African Philosophy Cafe, panel discussions with leading writers, critics and authors, culinary talks and demonstrations with leading local chefs, a literary tour of the city's informal book markets and a rich programme of literary events for parents and kids.

Saturday September 7

Rumba, kizomba and salsa the Saturday afternoon away at the Obrigado spring party, taking place in the historic surrounds of Joburg's National Heritage Landmark Constitution Hill. On the decks are Soweto-born DJ Kenzhero and Tha_Muzik whose sets are journeys through genres and eras mixing everything from 1970s disco and 1990s hip hop and RnB to electronica and world music, with plenty of Latin and African inspired sounds thrown in including samba, Afrobeat, bossa nova and funk.

Saturday September 7
Trace Fest

Trace Fest comes to the streets of Soweto with a block party bash at Disoufeng in Meadowlands Zone 10 (3166 Shinkhova Street) with some of the latest amapiano, kwaito, deep house and hip-hop hits along plus a few throwbacks from the early 1990s. Dubbed "The mother of all block parties" Trace Fest includes performances from some of South Africa's biggest acts, the likes of Sho Madjozi, Nadia Nakai, Okmalumkoolkat and Boity and showcases new South African talent with fresh newcomers also taking to the stage.

September 13 -15
FNB Art Joburg
The new three-day FNB Art Joburg at Sandton Convention Centre celebrates Joburg's incredible diversity and the city's role as a cultural hub for southern Africa, through a packed programme of art exhibitions and installations led by the continent's top drawer contemporary art galleries including Everard Read, Gallery MOMO, Goodman Gallery, Stevenson and SMAC. Highlights of the art fair programme include MAX, a large pavilion showcasing massive sculpture, paintings, video, large-scale installations and live performances and Gallery Lab, a 600sqm 'incubator' that will bring together nine galleries and artists from across the continent, becoming a collaborative art hub for the duration of the fair.

September 26 - 29
Standard Bank Joy of Jazz

Three days, four stages and more than 30 performers from across South Africa and the world, this is the city's leading jazz festival and one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Major names on the packed line-up at the Joy of Jazz 2019 include the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca, French-Ivorian drummer Manu Katche, Ken Peplowski - who has been described as "arguably the greatest living jazz clarinetist", veteran South African jazz vocalist Sibongile Khumalo, the innovative Indonesian musician Dwiki Dharmawan and Dutch saxophonist Alexander Beets.
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