Smoking Dragon New Year Festival

Photos courtesy of Smoking Dragon New Year Festival.
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Summary Info Festival StoryFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region South AfricaKwaZulu-Natal
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Festival Contact Information


Festival Description

The Smoking Dragon New Year Festival features a Main Stage with live music, the Lodge Stage featuring DJs, and to round out the festival experience there is a Carnival and Fire Performers, a kids area, market and food stalls, including full bar facilities… and camping.

Festival Dates December 29 - 31, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Story:

The event was birthed in 2003 when Ilsa and her partner Linda organised a party to entertain their guests at Amphitheatre backpackers over new year’s eve. They invited friends too and a few musicians they knew, and everyone had such a great time that they decided to do it again. Since then the event has grown organically and doubled in size from year to year. By 2010 they needed to build a stage to accommodate bands. This year the festival has really come of age and its vision has crystalized. Clichéd as it may seem, we are really doing it for the love of music. Its a dream come true for us, to be able to offer this platform to musicians, and we hope that our sense of wonder extends to the musicians and everyone who participates by being there. We want to create a space which showcases and exposes the incredible and unique music emerging in this country, the like of which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.


Festival Events:

Lineup 2013:
  • Shortstraw (Winner of MK Award for Best Indie in 2013)
  • Die “Dink Dans Masjien” known as Bittereinder
  • Desmond & the Tutus
  • Yesterday’s Pupil
  • Black South Easter
  • Rise
  • Beach Party
  • The Dollfins
  • Nkonjane No Bheseni
  • The Fruit & Veggies
  • Fridge Poetry
  • Gateau de Boeuf
  • MXO & the Peppercorns
  • Rooi Krokodil
  • The Stray Natives
  • Shomon
  • Ant Cawthorne-Blazeby & Nick Pitman
  • Late Night Fox
  • Cortina Whiplash
  • The District Boys
  • The Deaf Commission
  • Black Math
  • Paving the Labyrinth
  • The Trees
  • Them Birds
  • The Nutscratchers
  • Gateway Drugs
  • Veranda Panda
  • Dr Khumalo
  • DJ Half n Half
  • Michael Lesar
  • UBER COOL & Night Vision
  • Fultronbass
  • N-Chants
  • Mr DJ Collis
  • Sotori
  • and many more…


Practical Info:

Getting there:
  • Although it has the appeal of being seemingly remote, it is quite easily accessible to visitors by car, being approximately 280 kms equidistant from Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and Durban. The Baz Bus, which can be caught from any of the main SA cities, stops at its door, and is offering a special discount for Smoking Dragon at R325 per person from Johannesburg, Durban or Bloemfontein. The lodge also offers transport to-and-from nearby Harrismith, from where visitors have access to a variety of bus lines to all of SA’s main cities.
Tickets and accommodation 2013:
  • Camping
    • Access to the 3-day festival and free camping is included in the Standard festival tickets at R500 per head. There are also one and two-day pass options.
  • VIP tickets
    • …with access to the Lodge facilities and VIP camping are selling for R600. The lodge is an experience in itself – alive with creative sculptures, recycled-art decor, and stunning indigenous gardens and rockeries – it’s a feast for the senses. Its facilities include a Jacuzzi, swimming pool, bar, restaurant, lounges and a sauna.
  • Purchasing tickets
    • You can buy tickets through the Smoking Dragon Website or from the Smoking Dragon facebook site or from the performers themselves. As part of a “revolutionary” profit-sharing initiative, the Festival is partnering with musicians, offering them the opportunity to have a profit-share in the festival through the tickets they sell through the ticket office links on their facebook sites. It’s a new idea that we hope will take off.


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