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The world paused, not Nyege Nyege

While many concerts and festivals were fast to cancel or postpone dates, organisers of the Nyege Nyege Festival last week released a statement, indicating they are still on.


Revellers during last year’s Nyege Nyege Festival. Photo/Gabriel Buule

The coronavirus brought life as it has always been known to its knees. It was never a big deal worldwide, even when news about a crisis in China was present, many people thought it was going to go away the same way it had emerged.
But before it was too late, movie premieres were cancelled and so were tours and festivals. The famous Coachella Festival was postponed before being called off altogether.

In Africa, Sauti Za Busara in Zanzibar had happened successfully at the beginning of February but others such as Bushfire in Swaziland or Koroga in Kenya were cancelled.
In Uganda, only shows that were meant to happen during the lockdown time were confirmed to have been cancelled, the likes of Bayimba International Festival or Kampala Theatre International Festival are thought to have been cancelled but there has not been an official communication.
One that will not accept to leave the audience in uncertainty are definitely the organisers of Nyege Nyege Festival of the Arts.

Aptly Africa’s biggest rave, the show organisers were silent as the world self destructed with a pandemic, many people had already predicted the show could not happen, until they were surprised. On Thursday though, they shocked many when they posted a line up of this year’s edition with a hearty message.
In the message they explained that they do not know what the future holds but they have an audience and team dedicated to see that Nyege Nyege happens regardless.
They explain that they were faced with making a decision to either cancel the festival or simply having it online.

Holding onto hope
Over the years, Nyege Nyege has attracted a very big number of tourists. With the world in crisis, it is clear they would have such an audience problem However, they do not seem bothered.
Partnering with the African Digital Art, Nyege Nyege will host a hybrid festival happening simultaneously in various places through their website.
According to their statement though, the physical festival is not completely out of the picture.

“In August, together with the ministry of Health, we will apply the conditions on public gatherings. It might be two, it might be 2,000, maybe we will be tested, maybe we will have to wash our hands and wear masks, that part is completely unknown.”
A temporary online space will be created and curated by Jepchumba, the founder of African Digital Art, hosting 25 collectives who will present live music, DJ sets, secret raves, dance battles and cyphers, performances and happenings, talks, rituals, a digital gallery, love and a lots of hope.

Dubbed the Blue Moon Party, the organisers say they will avail the tickets as they find out more about the future, although those that had purchased tickets for the festival earlier will be reimbursed.
The line up announced includes local artistes such as Cindy, Jose Chameloene and Afrigo Band, Selector Jay, Faizal Mostrix and Kas Baby among others.
Meanwhile, the team will unveil the platform for the shows next week, while the details for the physical party will only be released in August.

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