In Chinese astrology, the 9th of February 2013 saw the end of the year of the dragon. According to the Gregorian calender however, the end of the year falls on the 31st of December with celebrations taking place throughout the world. Eastern mythology suggests the dragon is a symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power. accordingly, it seems universally precise that there’s no better way to see 2014 in than at The Smoking Dragon Festival in the Drakensberg – The Dragon Mountains.
In a year which has seen the protraction of the rising trend of music festivals in South Africa, it seems fateful that what started as a humble New Years party for guests of Amphitheatre Backpackers 8 years ago is now claiming its place as one of the premium festivals in the calender year. Each year has seen a gradual and organic improvement in the production value of the festival and 2013 could be inaugurated as it’s coming age. It’s becoming more and more difficult not to see Smoking Dragon in the same light as Oppikoppi and Rocking The Daisies. However the festival holds it own unique niche in the place of local music venues.
First of all is the magical venue, Amphitheatre Backpackers. The lodge is surrounded by the highest mountain range in South Africa, Drakensberg. With its jagged peaks and cascading cliffs – early settlers believed resembled a dragons back – the range provides a dramatic panorama to be marvelled at. The historical Drakensberg was declared a World Heritage Site, protecting its rich collection of San Art and the diverse ecology of flora and fauna. Closest to the foot of the Amphitheatre plateau lies the 5 star lodge which is architecturally influenced by indigenous stone and clay dwellings of a bygone era. With its jacuzzi, sauna, bouldering cave, rock pool, thatched bar and a variety of travel excursions – comfort and leisure is customary.
Only a 3 hour drive outside of Johannesburg, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t been there before.
The gem is a travellers unspoken secret which Smoking Dragon Festival is sure to disclose.
The rise in the popularity of local festivals is a trend many popular commercial brands have noticed and maximised. The brands need the festivals numbers to increase their market reach and awareness, while the organisors need the brands to increase the numbers and improve production – it’s a circular relationship. The result has been mostly positive. However as more and more branded activations take place at major festivals, the events are feeling increasingly like huge commercial marketing campaigns. Smoking Dragon Festival is unique in this aspect. It’s all about the music, the artists and the people. You won’t be encouraged to drink a specific beverage, smoke a certain brand or stomach a particular meal in exchange for trinkets. The vibe is an organic result of the attitudes of the attendants and the performances of the artists.
The line-up is exclusively local and will showcase an encyclopedic range of styles and genres including thrash folk, fiddle folk, surf punk, garage rock, kwela pop, progressive ska, prog, electronic and even maskandi. The only internationals you’ll see are the frequent tourists from all over the globe hosted by Amphitheatre. All performances take place on one stage allowing for a musical safari of diversity featuring established and emerging artists. The progressive organisors have introduced an intresting feature to the festival with profit-share. Through this, each of the performers is empowered with a direct financial stake in the success of the event.
Essentials on the line-up include festival circuit frequenters Desmond & The Tutus, Shortstraw, Bittereinder and Beach Party, while, Black Math, Cortina Whiplash, Fruits & Veggies and Yesterdays Pupil are sure to excite. Keep an eye on Inkonjane no Bheseni, Fridge Poetry, MXO and Paving The Labyrinth who’ll add a bit of spice to proceedings.
Tickets are limited to ensure everyone enjoys a quality experience in a clean and secure environment. If ever there was a time to experience Smoking Dragon Festival it would be 2013. Forget all these words and go see 2013 off – experiencing one of the most exciting festivals first hand. Visit the website for all the details and ensure you buy your ticket through your favourite artist.
Stand a chance to win a set double VIP tickets to the festival this year.
Create a Smoking Dragon Festival banner or flag for your car or campsite.
Leave a picture of your creation on our page and the best flag will win the tickets.
Winner announced on Christmas Day.