Get your popcorn ready for Durban International Film Festival + SA’s art festivals not to miss

2018-06-29 16:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Film reel.

Every July, Durban becomes a playground for local and international visitors looking for a warm escape during the winter holidays.

Not only is the ever-popular Durban July horse-racing event an entertainment spectacle of note to add to social calendars, but another major event and art festival worth attending is the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

HAVE YOU SEEN? Winter 2018 festivals to experience around SA

DIFF – one of the biggest film festivals on the continent, running for its 39th year - shines a spotlight on profound social issues while providing a global platform for the practitioners in the film industry.

The Festival’s programme includes 180 features films, documentaries and shorts, and takes place in conjunction with the 9th Durban FilmMart and 11th Talents Durban.

If you are a lover of fine art, nouveau films and have an appreciation for creative and provocative cinema, then this is a film festival not to be missed.

What you need to know:

When: 19 – 29 July.

Where: Various venues across Durban. Click here for all the venues.

Cost: Prices vary per show. Click here for more information.

Film buffs and entertainment-seekers can make the most of the opportunity to get acquainted with local and international film talent - together with family, friends and SA’s flourishing film community.

Film-lovers and filmmakers who travel from other parts of SA for the festival can make the most of Durban by turning their stay into a short vacation.  See How to have a sun-kissed mini-break in Durban for top tips.

There are also a number of other events happening in Durban in winter to make the most of while visiting the coastal city -  click here to find out more.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Winter 2018 festivals to experience around SA

But that’s not all - whip out your calendars, gather your friends and start planning for these other art and entertainment festivals across SA:

National Arts Festival, Grahamstown 28 June – 8 July 

If you're into arts, culture, drama and dance, chances are good that you're well acquainted with the 'Grahamstown festival' as it is affectionately known. Spread over 11 days, this year's festival is jam-packed with performances, exhibitions, installations, craft markets, lectures and workshops, some forming part of the main programme and others, the Fringe.  

PLAN YOUR TRIP: A complete guide to gear up for the National Arts Festival 2018

The National Arts Festival is of great historical importance, as it served as an important forum for political and protest theatre during the height of the apartheid era.    


Plett Arts Festival, Plettenberg Bay 25 June - 9 July

A celebration of the arts, visitors can look forward to a full two weeks of workshops, fashion exhibits, live performances and more.

The small town of Plettenberg Bay will be transformed, with a festival atmosphere permeating every inch of the town. Music, art exhibitions, street performances and street food will be available and active to keep spirits up and bellies filled. Prices vary per film screening, starting at R950 for an all-show pass - click here for more details.

SEE: SA Winter school holidays: Fun things to do with the kids

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Umhlanga Rocks Festival, Umhlanga 14 July

Umhlanga Rocks hosts its first festival celebrating SA music in the Umhlanga Rocks Festival, set to take place on 14 July, from 12:00 to 20:00 at Chris Saunders Park in Umhlanga Ridge.

Local music lovers will take pleasure in jamming to the sounds of Matthew Mole, Desmond and The Tutus, The Kickstands, Freddy L and Veranda Panda. There will also be a bar, G&T Garden and artisanal food stalls to indulge in.

Kids under 8 enter free and must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are R140 each – click here to buy.

MUST-SEE: School Holiday Fun: Spice up your holiday in Durban


126th Rastafari Earth Festival, Knysna 20 - 30 July

Earth Day, or the birthday of the Rastafarian's spiritual messiah, takes place on 23 July, and is honoured as part of the annual Earth Festival from 22-30 July at Judah Square Knysna.

The festival includes musical acts, dancing and singing of traditional songs. Members wear traditional attire, tell stories and recite poems. The event is family-friendly and open to the public - and serves as a platform for Rastafarians to openly share the traditions and roots of their faith.

For bookings and info contact Br Dawie Afrikaner/ Zebulon/ Zebs at 076 649 1034 or dawieafraker99@gmail.com.

ALSO SEE: #LoveSA: Garden Route festivals perfect for long weekend escapes


Umhlanga Food and Music Festival, Umhlanga 9 August

The Umhlanga Food and Music Festival will take place at Chris Saunders Park in Umhlanga on 9 August, just in time for Women’s Day celebrations.

Goodluck and Josh Wantie headline the show featuring local artists in this family-friendly music event. Children under 8 get in free, while adults need to buy tickets at R100 each through Webtickets and R120 at the door.

ALSO SEE: Beat the winter blues with these cool indoor adventures across SA


Oppikoppi, Northam 9 – 11 August 

Ah, good old Oppikoppi! South Africa's quintessential rock festival will be drawing thousands of music fanatics and good time chasers to the dustiness that is Northam in Limpopo once again this year.

Tickets start at R575, which includes a festival pass and allows you to pitch a tent in the designated camping areas. However, if you're after a bit of comfort, you can always opt for one of the fancy tent hotels.


Tremor Fest, Pretoria 18 August

For the first time in South Africa, the Electronic Music Dance Festival Tremor Fest will thrill fans at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on 18 August.

It promises first class sound and production with a party from sunset to sunrise, featuring David Puentez from Germany and a local line-up including Pascal & Pearce, Chris Taylor, Chunda Munki, VIMO, Austin Cassim and Ricardo da Costa. Click here to buy tickets priced between R180 - R360.

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Poetry in McGregor Festival, McGregor 24 - 26 August

Poetry enthusiasts will delight in the sixth Poetry in McGregor Festival, set to take place on 24-26 August, featuring more than 160 poets participating at various venues in the town.

New to this year’s festival is the Helenvale Poets “back a buddy” project aims to bring 20 emerging poets from Helenvale, Port Elizabeth, to the McGregor Poetry Festival. Get your tickets at Computicket from mid-July 2018 and remember to book accommodation in advance.


Hilton Arts Festival, Hilton 14 – 16 September

The largest theatre festival in KwaZulu-Natal, the Hilton Arts Festival brings some of the best performers and productions in SA to KZN’s Midlands.

The festival takes the spotlight from 14-16 September at Hilton College and also features craft exhibits, fine art displays, music shows, food and drink stalls and the perfect opportunity to enjoy and appreciate all facets of art with family and friends.

For more information email admin@hiltonfestival.co.za or call 033 383 0126 (Box Office) or 033 383 0127 (festival enquiries).