RBMA Weekender delivers four days of music to Joburg’s CBD


A lineup that will be talked about for years to come

Last weekend saw Johannesburg turn into party central when Red Bull rode into town with the world renowned Red Bull Music Academy Weekender. The music-packed weekend, featuring 60 artists spread over 4 days and 7 venues, kicked off on a high note on Thursday at Baseline in Newtown with the bass heavy rhythms of reggae and dancehall.

African Storm Soundsystem warmed up the crowd with a mix of both golden oldies and new favorites before Admiral & Jahseed came on stage and stepped the energy up a notch. Adding more flair to this special night were Admiral & Jahseed’s special guests including resident dancehall dancers wowing the crowds with their high energy, body breaking moves and MCs freestyling over dubplates.

The Friday was a humdinger of a day with four line-ups spread over four venues in Braamfontein and Newtown. Kanan & Doggstar provided the deep techno beats at AND Club, Niskerone vs Hyphen brought the fast-paced, relentless rhythms of drum ‘n bass to Carfax, Great Dane had the epic hip hop sounds of the Uppercut crew and Kitchener’s featured a variety of artists including Jumping Back Slash bringing the deeper sounds of house music.

A definite highlight of the night was seeing the legendary Thebe at Great Dane running through some of the biggest hits of his illustrious 15 year career including “Bula Boot”,”Groovers Prayer”, “Nomathemba” and “Jika Uthi”. Mashayabhuqe Ka Mamba was right next door at Kitchener’s bringing the crowd alive with his digital maskandi sound, and was joined by his fellow Boyz N Buck$ member uSanele on the elevated stage to perform their most recent collaboration “Amabodlela”.

Other highlights of the night included an energetic performance from Sketchy Bongo & Aewon Wolf and an inspired DJ set from Jakobsnake, with legendary qgom pioneer DJ Lag closing out the night with a driving, bass-heavy qgom set.

Saturday at 1 Fox in Newtown featured a stacked lineup of industry heavyweights like Cape Town music collective Christian Tiger School and House DJ Kat La Kat. Moonchild Sanelly put on an enchanting performance, which fans have become accustomed to, while Manthe Ribane and OkZharp put on arguably the best set of the night with their performance art piece cum musical number. Mathe certainly pulled out all the stops with eccentric outfits, agile dancers and an eclectic mix of house, kwaito and electro that kept the audience enthralled and earned her a rousing ovation as she finished her awesome performance.

International headliners Fat Freddy’s Drop and Nigerian dancehall king Patoranking wrapped up the rest of the night alongside AKA, who unsurprisingly killed his set so hard that if you’d walked into the venue with no context about the event you would’ve sworn it was an AKA concert.

The Weekender came to an epic close on Sunday at Zone 6 in Soweto with a lineup that would make any international promoter green with envy. House music favourites Oskido, Heavy K, Shimza and Red Bull Music Academy Alumni Culoe De Song brought the groove with sets that bridged commercial and underground house while local hip hop heavyweights Kid X, Riky Rick, Cape Town’s Youngsta and Stilo Magolide bringing the energy and the crowd cheering and singing along.

The highlight of the night was house legend and BET award winning DJ Black Coffee who made the stage his own and created an atmosphere reminiscent to his Africa Rising concert. He ran through some of his biggest hits like ‘Gardens of Eden’, ‘Rock My World’, ‘Izizwe’ and his most recent hit, the remix to Alicia Keys’ ‘In Common’.

#RBMAJozi wrapped up its very first Weekender in style, gathering music lovers from all corners of the City of Gold.

rbma christian tiger school

Image: Siya Mkhasibe


rbma ok zharp manthe ribane

Image: Siya Mkhasibe



Image: Siya Mkhasibe

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