Arts lovers will this year be heading to a new venue for the Bayimba International Festival of the arts. In a press release, the festival director, Faisal Kiwewa, says that they have been thinking about the long-term viability of the festival so that they could continue to go on for another 10 years.
“We have been exploring different approaches to sustain our annual festival and are extremely excited to have been able to acquire an amazing location,” he says.
Bayimba has been hosted at the Kampala-based Uganda National Cultural Centre commonly known as the national theater for a decade.
The festival is moving to a spacious new home in the midst of a leafy environment at the shores of Lake Victoria. The decision to move is driven by the desire to add value to creative sector development in an ever growing vibrant environment.
“We want to create a convivial village atmosphere that gives arts practitioners year-round space to create and innovate and fans and visitors plenty of opportunity to experience and explore,” Kiwewa says.
He also adds that the immediate advantage of the new location includes on-site parking, which will eliminate this logistical challenge faced thus far, as well as room for on-site accommodation.
However, the artistic programming will also benefit from the new space, with plenty of room to spread out and an inspirational environment that lends itself for some innovative design and layout, a great opportunity to refresh and revitalize what the festival has been offering its fans.
The festival will however stay truthful to its promise to stimulate and inspire creativity, innovation and collaboration, and thus to contribute to developing the arts sector at large. “In terms of programming we will be very similar to what our audiences are used to – exciting multi-arts programming at various stages for people from all ages and strata – just in a different location with more breathing room,” Bayimba’s festival director explains.
Whereas the festival has always been held during the third weekend of September, it will now be held during the first week of August, to work in sync with climatological realities and to attract an increasingly varied audience.
Kiwewa observes that although it will be a challenge to get the new spot ready for the eleventh edition of the festival – with a couple of month to bring their plans to life – they are excited to embark on this adventurous journey, together with a growing list of equally exciting partners.
Moving to a new venue, is part of a larger vision for Bayimba Festival to push towards the urban edges of the growing Kampala metropole. Although this will present numerous challenges, the upside is a much larger long-term vision of Bayimba.
“Not only will the new location host its flagship event, but over time a new and unique ecologically sensitive cultural ecosystem will come to life at this exceptional setting: a home for the arts with an exciting range of physical spaces for arts training, production, performance and exhibition combined with multiple opportunities for eco-cultural tourism,” Kiwewa further explains.
He adds, “The time is right to move out of the city centre and establish a home of our own – the move is a logical step in the evolution of Bayimba. While we will continue to work and partner with the National Theatre for multiple events and activities, as an organization we need to guarantee the sustainability and growth of our programmes and activities.”
The new location is well away from but easily reached by road from Kampala (42 km) and Jinja (60 km) while it will also be reachable by boat. Information about transport as well as accommodation options will follow in due time, as will information about the programme and line-up and ticket prices and sales.