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Monday, April 18, 2011


Blistering line-up for Swaziland festival.

Bushfire is Swaziland’s biggest live music happening, attracting in the region of 20,000 visitors during the three days of the event. The event is characterised by diverse peoples coming together in the spirit of harmony and unity through an invigorating programme of world music and multi-disciplinary performances.

As a progressive festival for the 21st century, one of the hallmarks of Bushfire is its commitment to socially responsible and sustainable event-staging. It supports the growth and development of the arts while highlighting the need to raise funds for some of the most pressing social needs facing Swaziland. As such, 100% of the profits from the Bushfire Festival will be donated to Young Heroes, an NGO providing education, healthcare, food and general support to Aids orphans.

This year Bushfire followers old and new can party the weekend away in a picturesque country setting when the Bushfire Festival sets Swaziland ablaze with music and culture from May 27 to 29, 2011.

This international arts festival, now in its fifth year, has unveiled a sizzling line-up of bands and artists to ensure that revellers can soak up some fine vibes along with the tranquillity of Swaziland’s beautiful Ezulwini valley.

Much-loved guitarist, composer and singer Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe will be among the premier music acts headlining this year’s festival. In addition to electronic dance duo Goldfish, “silent gig” pioneers Tonik and house music guru Black Coffee, plus leading Jamaican-Canadian dub poet D’Bi.Young, more exciting and eclectic acts from Africa and abroad have been confirmed for the Bushfire weekend.

Habib Koité (Mali), The Yale Concert Band (USA), Mime Decol (France) and SA-based French DJ Ben Montrésor are among the international headliners. Also on the programme are Swazi acts Spirits Indigenous, Nomzamo and Bholoja, and South African musicians Gazelle, Pedro the Music Man, Tsha Tsha Boys and Hot Water, as well as SA-Swazi collaboration Kathy Raven and Karibu.

The great live music menu will set the tone for a chilled weekend at the House of Fire performance venue that will also pulse with theatre, dance DJs, film, interactive workshops, a crafts and design fair-trade market, a global food fair and more.

In addition, Swazi poetry group Rooted Soulz will perform at Bushfire 2011. This gathering of poets who wish to grow the culture of poetry, both written and spoken, and aspiring wordsmiths attending the festival may also get the opportunity to test their skills during the regular poetry sessions.

Founded by Swazi-born entrepreneur and artist Jiggs Thorne, this year the festival’s theme is “Mixing the Point”, and the focus will be on bringing cultures together through collaboration and generating musical magic through creative synergies. Visitors are encouraged to “mix it up” and dress according to the theme on Bushfire Saturday to celebrate these diverse cultural and artistic influences, with great prizes up for grabs for those who really go to town with their outfits.

As part of Bushfire and House on Fire’s ongoing development programme, the 100% Seriously Swazi programme is set to launch at Bushfire 2011 as a platform for local talent. SNAC (Swaziland National Council for Arts and Culture) will identify six groups to perform on the 100% Stage, along with groups to perform informally throughout the festival grounds.

Swaziland Design Week: Swaziland is at the forefront of handcraft and design in Southern Africa, having hosted the International COFTA conference in 2010 and with such top fair-trade businesses spearheading the industry as Gone Rural and Ngwenya Glass. The 2011 Bushfire Festival will extend into a whole week of outreach and arts development projects alongside festival activities. The Swazi Design Week will bridge the gap between design activities and to stimulate development on all levels in partnership with SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade). This will include a workshop for fair-trade producers and artisans, facilitated by top South African designer Heath Nash, a Bushfire marketplace featuring SWIFT and promoting local handcraft and design, and several other workshops, showcases and exhibitions.

The annual Bushfire Festival is held on Malandela’s Farm in Swaziland’s Malkerns Valley. Visitors never fail to be captivated by this pastoral fantasy dreamscape, which abounds with unusual delights – from the soapstone sculptures to the quirky performance amphitheatre. Festival-goers can camp at the venue or stay at one of a number of establishments – ranging from backpackers and guesthouses to hotels – in the area.

Pre-booking for House on Fire is essential, as only a limited number of tickets are available. Discounted early-bird tickets are available online at at R400 for a full festival pass, or R650 for a full festival VIP pass, which includes access to a raised, comfortable seating area in the new “Top Deck”, with a private bar and waiter service and VIP parking.

One-day tickets range in price from R150 to R200, and one-day VIP tickets vary from R350 to R400. Children enjoy discounted rates, with free admission for under-fives. Tickets are also available internationally at The website includes information on where to stay during the festival, from backpackers and campsites to chalets and hotels. Visit for more information and updates on the festival’s artist line-up.