Route 40 Music Festival

The Route 40 Music Festival is unique event in Mpumalanga and in South Africa.  It provides opportunities for talented emerging musicians who are enrolled in the CMDA music programme, to perform alongside well-known national and international artists.  The Festival is also a showcase for the CMDA and an opportunity for our Patrons to share the stage with our students.

The dates for the 2017 Festival are yet to be confirmed.


The 2013 Festival is important in the history of the CMDA, and is worth a a special mention.


Route 40 succeeded in significantly raising the standard of the performances by all of the CMDA bands.  The workshops, where the public could, at no cost, get up close and personal with many of South Africa’s greatest bands and musicians, including Carl Restivo and Wendy Winks from the School of Rock and Christopher Amos from Carnegie Hall were an added gem to the proceedings.


The wet weather deterred some visitors, but the performances were all indoors and those that made the effort were not disappointed.  The top acts, including the Parlotones, Prime Circle, Vusi Mahlasela and others shared the main stage with several of the CMDA’s top bands.  From a music lover’s perspective, there was much to enjoy.  The 2014 Festival was far more compact in that all events took place within the Castebridge Theatre.  This brought an intimacy to the performances, as the venue was always jam packed and the vibe was brilliant.


Something special about Route 40 resulted from the CMDA’s collaboration with Carnegie Hall in New York and School of Rock Scholarship Fund in California.  Jointly, they ran a youth song-writing contest both in the USA and in South Africa aimed at 13 to 18 year old’s judged by top international musicians.  The US finalists then travelled to South Africa, supervised by Carnegie Hall, where they performed their winning songs with the CMDA’s youth bands at the festival.   In 2014 we linked up with the School of Rock again via Skype, and many youngsters attended a virtual workshop.


‘We cannot thank you enough for being such a great collaborator on this project. I think the results were even more powerful than we all had expected—for both the students and the staff involved—and it was incredibly exciting to see so many months of planning come to fruition in such a successful festival.

I cannot praise the CMDA students enough for how open and welcoming they were to their American counterparts. It is a huge credit to their character and the values that you’ve instilled in all the students studying at CMDA that the musical collaborations were so successful and that all the students spent so much time getting to know one another and enjoying their time together. I know it was an unforgettable and life-changing experience for all the American students.

Chris Amos, Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute

“It was an extraordinary week. I knew it would be, but your kids and your community surpassed anything that I imagined. The kids were so bright, open, and welcoming, as was everyone that we worked with! I was especially moved by the workshop that Vusi Mahlasela gave, and by his performance later that evening. The emotion, the joy and uplifting feeling that he created with his words and music were remark-able. I was similarly blown away by the young South African bands who learned the US students music, and how enthusiastic they were, supportive, and kind.

Music truly brought us all together in a way that nothing else could have.  I know that we were all forever changed for the better by the experience.  Thank you for making it possible, and I would love to find a way to do it again!
Wendy, Rock School Scholarship Fund

“On behalf of Prime Circle we were very honoured to be part of ROUTE40 and CMDA and we looking forward to future involvement. Prime Circle had a great time on stage and your students were very talented!  Looking forward to 2014 event involvement with you. – Mariska Geyer, Prime Circle Booking Agent