Sauti za Busara, February, Stone Town (www.busaramusic.com). Sauti za Busara means "songs of wisdom" in Kiswahili, and this annual festival of Swahili music attracts the best musicians and performers from all over East Africa, as well as visiting groups from West Africa. Most performances and workshops are held in Stone Town's Old Fort and Beit el Ajaib (House of Wonders) over 4 days, and there's a final night's party with DJs on the beach at Kendwa on the north coast. Music is varied, from traditional taarab (which combines African percussion and Arabic rhythms, and uses large numbers of musicians and Arabian instruments) to bongo flava, a local take on hip-hop and R&B.
Zanzibar International Film Festival of the Dhow Countries, June, Stone Town (www.ziff.or.tz). This festival celebrates and promotes the unique culture that grew as a result of the ancient trade route around the Indian Ocean and the dhow, which for centuries crossed Africa, Arabia, and Asia on the monsoon winds. All nations around the Indian Ocean participate in the festival, and films are judged, critiqued, and shown in venues along Stone Town's waterfront. Additionally, there are contemporary artists, musicians, cultural troupes, and photo exhibitions, and an arts-related program to creatively empower women and children.