Village Halloween Parade
31 October New York City
At this eye-popping annual parade on 6th Avenue between Spring Street and 16th Street, New York City takes the global tradition of carnival and masquerade and turns it on its head. The atmosphere at the 39th annual Village Halloween Parade is less of a po-faced All Hallow’s Eve ritual and more a one-helluva-good-time Halloween party.
Expect costumes ranging from standard ghosts and ghouls to teams of people creating imaginative spectacles such as the cast of Michael Jackson’s Thriller or The Flintstones, complete with prehistoric car.
Anyone can join if they’re in costume, and all the better if it’s in keeping with the theme. Led by the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, 2012 takes on the theme of time. Check your watch and head to 6th Avenue from Broome, Sullivan, or Canal Street between 6:30 and 8:30pm. And if dressing up is not your thing but you want to participate, volunteers are needed to help animate the hundreds of giant puppets that throng the route. Don’t forget to bring a camera.
Asabaako Music Festival
30 November-2 December Busua Beach, Ghana
The election this year means that the opening of one of Ghana’s leading music festivals has moved to the 30th of November. That won’t stop the festival’s fans, who flock to breathtaking Busua Beach to unwind, recharge, and listen to the best music from across Africa and beyond. There’s something for everyone’s taste here at the three-day festival, from highlife to hip-hop.
Last year welcomed artists such as Wanlov The Kubolor, M3NSA, and Fiifi Adinkra, so expectations are high for this year’s line-up. There’s a strong emphasis on relaxing and having fun in the sun, too – as befits Busua Beach’s other claim to fame as a prime surf destination.
Accommodation can be limited in Busua, but if you don’t find a place on the beach, you can always stay in the nearby towns of Takoradi, Desert Rose, and Butre.
Pack a towel and prepare to make new friends against a backdrop of a Ghanaian sunset and hip-swaying beats.
Film Africa 2012
1-13 November London
The films shown at London’s annual festival of African film, will no doubt leave you reeling with delight, if you will excuse the pun. A good balance between fictional films, documentaries, and experimental cinema from across the African continent are shown over the course of two weeks. The result is a balance of perspectives and excellent storytelling that is crucial to any film festival worth its salt.
The specific list of films is chosen closer to the event, ensuring that the festival remains current and reflects the tremendous talent that today’s young generation of African filmmakers produce month after month.
Venues hosting the festival include East London’s Hackney Picturehouse, The Ritzy, Paddington’s Frontline Club, Rich Mix, and Screen On The Green, so no matter where you are in London there’s a chance to immerse yourself in African film.
Lagos Photo Festival
13 October-13 November Lagos
Talent oozes out of every frame at the Lagos Photo Festival, an annual photography festival currently attracting loads of international attention. The third year of the festival will see the best photographers, chosen by the African Artists’ Foundation, exhibit thought-provoking, crisp images that both delight and confound our expectations. This year’s theme, â€˜Seven Days in the Life of Lagos’, examines seven different aspects of the city, including culture, community, street life, and many other themes that run through the city’s core.
Alongside the photos are workshops for children and adults, art fairs, and workshops, so both professionals and amateurs can immerse themselves in this much-lauded artform.
The big event of the festival is the opening ceremony at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, which also hosts the awards ceremony and an indoor exhibition. Outdoor exhibitions are held around the city.
Joburg Art Fair
7-9 September JohannesburG
Joburg Art Fair, launched in 2008, brings together 20 art galleries from across the city, each showcasing a wealth of talent from primarily African artists.
2012 sees some exciting special exhibitions, including an installation of paintings by Deborah Poynton, photography by South African-born Pieter Hugo, and a video installation by Bridget Baker.
Art students, artists, collectors, gallerists and the general public will descend upon the Sandton Convention Centre to see painters, sculptors, photographers, and a range of artists that work in other mediums, exhibit their work.
This year will see the second annual FNB art prize, delectable food, top wines and an International Talks Programme. Among other collaborations, the fair will be the flagship event of the Arts Alive Program 2012 as well as a partner project of the French South Africa Season 2012. Tickets cost R100 per person, purchasable from the website or via the Sandton Convention Centre.
21-24 September Johannesburg
The Soweto Festival, held this year at the Expo Centre Johannesburg at Nasrec, aims to empower South Africa’s sizeable youth population and celebrate local traditions. There are a variety of events that make up the festival, ranging from sports competitions to a graffiti wall that will showcase the best of local street artists’ work and give a chance for the general public to be creative. Alongside this are braais, a plethora of children’s activities, and a programme of performing arts entertainment. It’s a great way to get closer to the local heritage and feel a part of a truly South African family-friendly cultural event.