MTN Bushfire’s first digital festival a success

Music Festival raised over R100 000 but more donations are needed for distribution to orphaned and vulnerable, as well as to women in eSwatini’s outback

The Bushfire Digital Festival became Africa’s first festival to stream multiple stages accompanied by social Zoom rooms recently. The digital celebration of diversity was a powerful reflection of the spirit of inclusion and connectedness that MTN Bushfire is synonymous with. Over 5 000 Fire Starters from 63 countries gathered around the virtual flame online and over 130,000 via eSwatini TV, immersing themselves in the authentically African and globally-infused programme, and engaging with each other.

Using the power of the arts to keep hope alive and celebrate diversity, the #KeepTheFireBurning Digital Festival brought together artists and fans of the festival from across Africa and as far afield as China, Germany, Colombia, Norway, the UK and the US, among other countries.

Inspired by the festival’s #BRINGYOURFIRE call to action for positive change, the #KeepTheFireBurning live cast was part of MTN Bushfire’s COVID-19 response to support their beneficiaries, Young Heroes and boMake Rural Projects. The festival helped to raise over R100 000 but the organisers say donations are still welcome until 16 June 2020. All the contributions will assist Young Heroes and boMake Rural Projects assemble and distribute Emergency Homecare Kits to orphaned and vulnerable children, as well as to women in the rural communities in eSwatini.

“These Emergency Homecare Kits consist of food, face masks, hygiene products and medical supplies,” said one of the organisers. “These will enable families to maintain their basic needs, meet stipulated health standards and allow them to #StayAtHome and #StaySafe.

“A first of its kind for an online festival, this immersive two-way virtual experience saw guests dancing, connecting and interacting in our themed Zoom rooms, in essence recreating the unique atmosphere of the MTN Bushfire Festival that keeps Fire Starters from around the world coming back year after year. Fire Starters were able to enjoy a diversity of performances in five different streams: the Main Stage, House on Fire Stage, Firefly Stage, the KidZone and the Bring Your Fire Zone.”

According to this organiser, the postponement of the 14th edition of the MTN Bushfire Festival has greatly affected their beneficiaries’ ability to keep their doors open and continue serving the eSwatini communities at a time when it is needed the most.