Back To The City Festival

Back To The City Festival

There’s no question about what to get upto this Freedom day. @backtothecityfestival is back at the Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Featuring artists representing the pinnacle of artistic expression from South Africa and abroad, this unique annual youth event has grown into the largest public display of both commercial and underground Hip Hop in Africa, presenting a day of live music, street art, break-dancing, art installation, skateboarding, film, street fashion, gaming, speakers and panel discussions.

From the daytime events to the nightly performances, this is one time that the inner city comes alive with true freedom of expression providing a destination for hip hop fans, artists and industry related individuals to converge and celebrate the experience today’s youth culture.

The day begins with an educational Hip Hop Summit offering an exchange of knowledge from industry gurus working within the media, advertising and music business arenas.

The aim of these workshops was to effectively empower the artist with as much knowledge to enable her/him to efficiently administrate their career and brand growth. Back To The City Festival wants  to utilise the culture as a tool to encourage critical thinking, social change and unity while empowering communities through media, arts, education and independent initiatives.

Topics such as Publishing, Distribution, Recording, Independent versus Mainstream, Funding, and Entrepreneurship are openly discussed allowing audience members a chance to actively engage speakers, facilitating access to resources as well as empowering the youth with valuable knowledge.

Live performances and DJs entertain throughout the day while graffiti artists utilise the surrounding street walls as their canvasses, creating colourful masterpieces in the city. The Second stage is reserved for competitions for rappers, beatmakers, dancers, and alternative Hip Hop performances.
The 3rd stage is strictly for the live bands.






Cant Stop – Freshly Ground

Cant Stop – Freshly Ground

Afro-fusion band Freshly Ground has released its brand new album, ‘Can’t Stop’. This is the band’s seventh release and marks 16 years of the group being together.

Zolani Mahola, lead singer of Freshly Ground, explains the secret to the band’s longevity, “It’s a lot to do with curiosity. We like to see what we can get out of each other. I love being part of a unit”.

When you think about how long the band has been around, their album title almost serves as a reminder of how far they have come — and that they are far from calling it quits.

“It’s our 16th year in music and we’ve had changes in the band, with members no longer playing instruments,” said Zolani Mahola.

“So, even though we haven’t been at the forefront and that (only) some of our albums were successful, we’re still doing what we love and that is what the album represents”.

The title of Freshly Ground’s new album can also symbolise the changes in the band, with the addition of a guitarist from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the absence of one of their former members, violinist Kyla-Rose Smith.

The band was last seen after the release of their single, Banana Republic, in 2017, which also had a video released on the same day. Banana Republic was more social than political, but the release of the band’s newest single, Blck Grls, has a more personal link to the band or, its lead singer and millions of South African Girls.

“The phrase ‘black girls’ looks so normal; by omitting the vowels, it creates a sense of uniqueness and grabs the attention of the listener”, she explained.

“The song has a link to me because of my childhood and how, as a girl, there were limitations as to what music I could listen to, because it was wrong to listen to rock music.

“I also was told what I could wear and at a certain age, black girls were given chores and tasks.

We just love Freshly Ground and are grateful for their amazing sound and contribution to the music industry. Judging from their latest album and singles, Freshly Ground are far from ending their journey.