Johannesburg

The ultimate guide to Joburg summer festivals and concerts

19 Nov 2018
created 18 Sep 2018
The sunny spring and summer period is festival season with a packed schedule of local and international open-air music festivals taking advantage of Joburg's glorious sunshine. In addition to summer festivals, Joburg also has found its way on to the international touring schedule of major global acts, some of whom are coming to South Africa for the first time this year.

Here's our guide to this summer's major music events that any music lover should know about. 

Saturday November 24
Sportscene Capsule Fest 2018

Headlined by award-winning American rapper Vince Staples, the second annual Capsule Fest takes over Soweto’s leading entertainment venue Zone 6 bringing together some of the hottest names in South African hip hop. A member of hip hop trio Cutthroat Boyz, Staples is joined on stage by gqom darling and dancer Babes Wodumo and top South African rappers AKA and Riky Rick. Capsule Fest is a celebration of street culture and alongside the exciting music lineup there is also a programme of sneaker activations, skating, talks and gaming.
Zone 6, Soweto. Tickets R200-R400. Find out more here.

Sunday December 2
Global Citizen Mandela 100 Concert

Undoubtedly one of the biggest concerts to be held in South Africa in recent years, when the line-up for the first Global Citizen festival was announced fans rejoiced at the announcement that Beyonce was finally going to be performing on African soil, and what's more she'd be headlining the concert alongside other massive global stars like Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, Chris Martin, Ed Sheeren and Usher. The news got even more exciting when it was announced that tickets for the festival were free. Concert-goers need to 'earn' their tickets by joining the Global Citizen website and supporting Global Citizen's projects which seek to raise awareness about global issues. Other ways to win Global Citizen tickets include joining Global Citizen at the monthly #AreSebetseng Joburg clean-up days. Find out more here.

Sunday December 16
Nubian Music Festival

Returning for its second year, the Nubian Music Festival at Hartbeespoort Dam spans a variety of genres from jazz to deep house. Leading stars on the lineup include iconic Zimbabwean jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi, award-winning Nigerian kora guitarist Kunle Ayo, popular pop and soul singer Lira, jazzy house band Mi Casa and 12-time SAMA award-winning Afropop duo Mafikizolo. One of the major highlights of the festival is the location itself, set on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam just over an hour's drive north of Joburg. Festivalgoers can make a weekend of it and take advantage of special festival camping packages which include water sports, late night open-air movie screenings and access to nearby nature reserves. 
Eagle Waters Wildlife Resort, Hartbeespoort. Tickets R300-R1500. Find out more here.

Sunday December 30 and Monday December 31
Afropunk

Now in its second year, the cult Afropunk festival (which also takes place in New York, Atlanta, Paris and London) brings together a world class line-up of the hottest names in black alternative music for a two-day festival at Constitution Hill. This year’s international headliners include Los Angeles’ neo-soul and alternative R&B superstars The Internet, experimental electronic producer, musician and rapper Flying Lotus who is presenting his first 3D show on the African continent, multi-genre crossover bassist Thundercat (who won a Grammy for his vocal work on Kendrick Lamar's acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly), New Orleans rapper and 'Queen of Bounce' Big Freedia, 1990s hip hop legends Public Enemy and Haitian-Canadian DJ Kaytranada. Representing local talent are leading alternative, Gqom, Afro-psychedelic, house, rap and Afro-futurist performers such as Moonchild Sanelly, Dope St JudeFAKANomisupasta, BCUC and Thandiswa.
Constitution Hill. Early bird tickets R600, weekend pass R1100. Regular tickets R700, weekend pass R1200. Find out more here.

CONCERTS

Saturday November 24
Thandiswa

Rebel singer Thandiswa Mazwai is a South African music icon and one of the country's most influential contemporary performers. Never one to shy away from socio-political issues in her music or in her public life, Thandiswa (who also goes by the names Red and Gunzah Blaze)'s music is richly layered with references to traditional and contemporary sounds including traditional Xhosa rhythms, Mbaqanga, reggae, kwaito, funk and jazz. Meanwhile her mesmerising stage presence is unparalleled. Ahead of a headline spot at this year's Afropunk festival, Thandiswa plays an intimate concert titled Letter to Azania at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.
Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City. Tickets R250-R500. Find out more here.

Sunday November 25
James

Marking the launch of their 15th album Living in Extraordinary Times, the Brit pop-rock band James play Pretoria's Botanical Gardens this summer. The band are best known for the incredibly catchy 1991 smash hit Sit Down and other  iconic mid-90s songs like Laid and She's A Star
Pretoria Botanical Gardens. Tickets R365-R595. Find out more here.

Thursday November 29
Guns N' Roses

As part of the Not In This Lifetime tour, for the first time ever rock legends Guns N' Roses are coming to South Africa, playing the biggest venue in the country - Joburg's FNB Stadium. So far the band's epic global tour has been very well received with Guns N' Roses putting in a typically high energy showcase of their greatest hits including iconic songs like Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child O' Mine.
FNB Stadium. Tickets from R515. Find out more here.

Saturday February 2 
Ms Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill pays a visit to Joburg this summer as part of a global tour marking the 20th anniversary of her most famous album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. With it being an anniversary tour, there are certainly high hopes that the set list will feature nothing but the hits from the peak of her career, although a late arrival from the notoriously tardy star is probably to be expected as well.
TicketPro Dome. Tickets from R720. Find out more here.

Saturday March 16
Rock on the Lawns – The Cure

After bringing cult 1980s indie-rock band Pixies to Joburg in early 2018, Rock on the Lawns brings another much-loved band from yesteryear to the Carnival City show grounds in Joburg's East Rand. The Cure's recent re-emergence on the live music circuit has been met with praise by critics who described their massive London gig in Hyde Park as 'perfection'. Support acts include Fokofpolisiekar and Karen Zoid.
Carnival City, Brakpan. Tickets R495-R895. Find out more here.

Saturday April 13 and Sunday April 14 
Sam Smith

The phenomenally popular British soul and R n B singer-songwriter Sam Smith comes to South Africa this autumn, performing at Joburg's TicketPro Dome. Smith cites Adele and Amy Winehouse as his main influences and for fans of powerful songs that will make you sob like a baby, Smith's music is unparalleled with hits like Stay With Me and Lay Me Down making him a household name.
TicketPro Dome, Tickets from R575. Find out more here.
Read more

Sun Arena Times Square

209 Aramist Ave, Menlyn, Pretoria
/johannesburg/sun-arena-times-square_153165v

Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit

Cnr Pitts Ave and Allendale Rd, Kyalami
/johannesburg/kyalami-grand-prix-circuit_146460v

Pretoria National Botanical Gardens

2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria, Pretoria. If coming from the highway turn off N1 at R104 (Pretoria St)

Ticketpro Dome

Cnr Olievenhout Ave and Northumberland Rd, North Riding
/johannesburg/Ticketpro-Dome_123315v

Carnival City

Cnr Century and Elsburg Rd, Brakpan
/johannesburg/carnival-city_143914v

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