Sauti za Busara
An exuberant celebration of the musical heritage of East Africa and beyond, Sauti za Busara has been drawing crowds to Zanzibar since 2004. Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) features performances by over 400 musicians.
Festivities are kicked off with a street parade featuring a brass band, drummers, wanandege (umbrella women), dancers, walkers and acrobats. Over the next five days, starting in the late afternoon as the shadows lengthen, the finest African musicians perform on the main stage within Stone Town's historic Old Fort.
Tickets are free for East African residents until 5pm, so the event draws large, enthusiastic crowds of locals as well as visitors from all over the world.
From Wednesday through to Sunday, around eight groups perform each day. Big names rub shoulders with upcoming artists. Altogether there are thirty of the best groups of Zanzibar, Tanzania and around East Africa, traditional and modern, acoustic and electric, as well as ten groups representing other parts of the African continent and diaspora.
Around the festival, the island is buzzing with a range of fringe events: traditional ngoma drum and dance, fashion shows, dhow races, open-mic sessions, after-parties and performances of Zanzibar's oldest taarab orchestra.
Stone Town is the cultural heart of Zanzibar, and was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a city of labyrinthine alleys, intriguing bazaars, historic mosques and extravagant Arab mansions. This historic gem is within easy reach of Zanzibar's superb white beaches, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. 2016 dates are provisional.