By Marley

A strange yet advisable subject since we are talking about the Canimambo Free Form Festival (CFFF) that is taking place on 18 – 19 December 2016. This festival that is so at the end of the year it takes place in Graskop, a small town about an hour’s drive from Nelsparta. Their line-up is truly something else!

When Court Gibson approached her family a short 5 years ago we never expected the festival to grow into a 3-day event (finally). The Canimambo restaurant in Graskop is well known for its Mozambique Portuguese cuisine, insanely awesome hospitality and of course for the CFFF. The festival that used to take place on the green lawn of the restaurant has now moved a step up but not completely. This year the main evening – Saturday 19 December will be taking place at the newly renovated Graskop Holiday Resort. For years this golden egg was laying in dust but it has turned a new leaf! This festival has boosted the little sleepy town into the place to be in December.

What you can expect are artists from across the genres many that are from all over Africa actually. But this festival is not just about the art, music, fun and memories it’s about a good cause. Each year the CFFF raises fund for a charity and this year it’s for the K9 Conservation Anti-Poaching unit. The hard-working people and dogs that fight to save our precious endangered wildlife. What a cool concept isn’t it? And calling all artists (the paint/pencil kind) the Free Form Art Competition is the perfect way to show your artistic skills. With the title of “Endangered species,” artists have a day to paint and the paintings will be auction off on Saturday 19 December. The funds raised from the auction will be going to the K9 unit. There is, of course, prizes for the best portraits of the day as well.

Free Form Art Competition
Free Form Art Competition

The next thing you will want to know is the line up and we must say it’s really diverse and caters for everyone.

Friday 18 December:

The Free Form Festival Friday 18 December 2015 line up
The CFFF Friday line up 2016

The festival kicks off at Canimambo restaurant in Graskop. Camping opens at 11:00 and the festivities will kick off at 18:00. The activities will include:

  • Open Mic
  • Drumming Circle
  • Fire Dancing
  • DJ’s
  • And there is plenty of awesome food and drinks on sale – it’s free entry!

Saturday 19 December:

The Free Form Festival Saturday 19 December 2015 line up
The CFFF Saturday line up 2016

The real party is on and the gates open at 11:00 am at the same time as the art competition. A great line up of a range of artists during the day with a kids corner! The headliners The Black Cat Bones will be live on stage in the evening! Nothing wrong with a little bluegrass/rock in your life.

Here is the set list for the day, make sure you are there!

Sunday 20 December

While nursing a well-deserved hangover try some of the amazing restaurants in town for breakfast and freshly brewed Sabie Valley coffee. There will be a free nature tour of the surrounding areas around Graskop which is guided. The convoy departs at 11:30!

Have we tickled your festival buds yet? There is great accommodation places in and around Graskop but don’t attempt to drive back at night, the road is truly dangerous. Accommodation space is running out so get booking.

Tickets are selling fast!

R300 – Full weekend

R150 – Day pass (Saturday only)

R20 – Kids pass, must be accompanied by an adult, day pass only

Tickets can be booked directly by sending an email to and some tickets are available at the gate.

Remember to bring sunscreen and hat (if it’s another melting day) and rain jacket in case the rain decides to stay. Please note that no drugs, violence, weapons and littering will be tolerated. No alcohol will be sold to under 18’s either.

So as you can see that the CFFF is the only place you need to be this weekend. Graskop and it’s surrounding areas are really something to see and explore. We recommend an early morning hike up God’s Window, spectacular views.

All in all the CFFF party is the only place to be this weekend, a great kick off to the festive season.

For more info check out and follow the website on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.