This top African world music festival is the latest to take a knock from coronavirus

The MTN Bushfire Festival management has described the postponement of the 14th 2019 edition to March 28 to 30, 2021 due to coronavirus fears as one the "hardest decisions" it had to make.

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However, as a socially responsible festival, the health and safety of eSwatini (Swaziland) citizens and the diverse community of guests from across the globe certainly come first, hence the decision to have it moved to a later stage.

Before announcing new festival dates this week, the festival was just two months shy from taking place at the House On Fire in Malkerns – from May 24 to 26.

“MTN Bushfire had already engaged an electrifying range of music artists and creatives for its eclectic festival programme that appeals to ‘Fire Starters’ from across the globe, year after year,” founders Jiggs and Sholto Thorne said in a joint statement.

“Our list of vendors for our trading areas was finalised, and we had settled on some exciting activation plans with our partners and sponsors. We were all ready to bring our fire. So yes, this has been a harsh reality for us all.”

With the festival only postponed, and not cancelled, this means that all the exciting MTN Bushfire programming initially lined up for this year would shift to 2021.

So, if you had already bought a ticket, you can automatically keep it for the 2021. Alternatively, a provision for a refund – only 75% of the original ticket cost – for those who wish not to attend has been made. 

To request a refund, click on this link to ticket service providers, Howler, or email support@howler.co.za

While the MTN Bushfire Festival and All-Out camping tickets are automatically valid, glamping tickets aren’t. On that note, festival goers will need to contact their service providers separately as they have their own requirements.

MTN Bushfire’s ripple effect

Renowned for its strong focus on African music, culture and the arts, MTN Bushfire remains one of the largest world music festivals.

Lauded for its ripple effect on tourism and the economy as it has been for uplifting the underprivileged, last year the festival generated E45 million ( R45 million) for the Kingdom of eSwatini’s economy.

Close to 1,000 jobs were created directly by the festival, with over 900 jobs created across various sectors including trade, accommodation, transport, and manufacturing.

Over the past five consecutive years, tickets to the MTN Bushfire festival have sold out well in advance. With two-thirds of tickets having already sold out, this year’s festival would have had an even bigger impact on eSwatini tourism sector.

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