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Monday, November 20, 2017


The annual Smoking Dragon Music Festival promises to set the Northern Drakensberg afire once again from December 29 to 31, 2017, with its rich array of music and a colourful crowd of interesting creative, artistic and fascinating festival-goers.

At the foot of the iconic Amphitheatre, in the KZN Northern Drakensberg and a mere three hours drive from Durban and Johannesburg, Smoking Dragon takes place at one of the country’s most popular travel destinations - Amphitheatre Backpackers, a beautifully creative eco-lodge that attracts a diverse range of people from across the globe.

With stages set around dams and overlooking truly gob-smacking views, Smoking Dragon is regarded as one of the most experimental festivals in the country. “We like to push the boundaries by breaking through the barriers that exist between music genres and ultimately the people of South Africa,” says Ilsa Roberts one of the organisers of the festival. “Music is a universal language that unites people and that’s what we do at Smoking Dragon. So we are pleased that the range of music offered goes from the simplistic sounds of Gqom to the complex, syncopated rhythms of jazz and everything in between.”

Musicians, bands and DJ’s featured at this year’s event include Nonku Phiri, Moonchild Sanelly, Holly, Lo-Ghost, Chiano Sky and others on the Smoking Diva stage on December 29.

Then on December 30 and 31 good vibes continue which includes Desmond & the Tutus, The Kiffness, Bombshelter Beast, Southern Wild, Retro Dizzy, PHFAT, Haezer, Bittereinder, BCUC , Leeu and Weston & Engine, Hezron Chetty and the Zugzway, Funk the DJ and more.

“Of particular interest this years is the Pink Tent,” says Roberts. “This is a space where it goes without saying that, all sexual preferences, genders and orientations are welcome. A space to remind all of the need for inclusivity and honouring. We are particularly delighted to have Nakhane perform for us, as not only is he an extraordinarily talented singer and performer who is very vocal about LGBTQIA rights, but we are also holding thumbs that the film Inxeba (The Wound) in which he stars, will be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film in the 2018 Oscars. There will also be DJ’s like Simstar, Miss Li▲ng and Kim-E.”

Curator of the Pink Tent Taya Heath says, “With the divide between the heteronormative world and the LGBTQIA community ever-widening, it seems, with many incidents of abuse being reported, even in the supposedly “liberal” environment of a music festival, there is a need to remind people, that we all have a right to dignity, respect and security no matter our personal viewpoints. So Smoking Dragon has stepped up to the plate and created this Pink Tent to make the statement that everyone has a right to love without feeling unsafe or inhibited.”

The festival is a project of the Non Profit Company R.A.I.S.E, which is involved in workshops and THETA learnership programmes that support families in need, sponsoring school children, building schools as well as generating income for musicians and artists through Smoking Dragon. R.A.I.S.E has introduced “PINK Workshops” where members of the LGBTQIA community in the area attend lectures and discussion groups around issues that directly affect them.

Smoking Dragon Music Festival as always has a gourmet food village, clean ablutions, and five zones of music. Entry to the festival, which includes the camping facilities in a general camping area or a VIP zone, are R745 and R1490 for the three days with day tickets available. For more info or to book go to or contact 082 551 2495 or 076 822 7508.