Malawi’s popular Lake of Stars festival returns to the shores of Laka Malawi this year from Friday 30 September to Sunday 2 October.
South African band Freshlyground are the first international headliners to be announced for this year's edition. An accomplished musical outfit known for their energetic live performances, Freshlyground's music has reached billions of people around the globe. For years they've been at the forefront of the music scene in the southern African region with chart-topping tracks like 'Waka Waka', 'Doo Be Doo' and 'Pot Belly', followed more recently by 'Don't Leave Me' and 'Army of One' with Jack Parow, which recently earned a SAMA for Best Music Video.
It’s not the first time the band has played at the festival. According to Lake Of Stars director Will Jameson, “Each year we receive requests to bring previous performers back to the festival, as people have enjoyed seeing them perform so much. The most frequent request over the past five years has been Freshlyground. We’re delighted to be bringing this world-class act back to Malawi for more of their exciting music. Everyone knows and loves ‘Waka Waka’, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song with Shakira, but I’m really excited about the direction of their recent and upcoming releases, which have a fresh new sound.”
Freshlyground will join a host of top Malawian talent already confirmed for this year’s festival. They include Afro-soul artist Faith Mussa and Blantyre-based hip-hop MC Flo Dee, best known for her hit ‘Veke Mphete’ with Bucci, Kora-nominated rapper Piksy, the Lusubilo Band and Patience Namadingo, who shot this video for his recent single ‘Mozimila’ in the waters of Lake Malawi.
The festival’s call for artist applications closed at the end of May, so expect more artists to be added to the line-up in the next few weeks and months. The organisers will have their work cut out to top last year’s line-up, which ensured that the 2015 event was a resounding success.
In addition to the musical programme, festival-goers will enjoy a host of other entertainment from across the arts including poetry, theatre, fashion and dance.
This year’s event takes place at a beautiful new location on the pristine white sands of Chintheche Inn on Lake Malawi’s northern lakeshore, the location where the festival first began in 2004.
“After five successful consecutive years in Mangochi, the move back to Chintheche is an exciting opportunity for us to reconnect with our roots and support the creative growth in the region,” Jameson explained. “When I started the event in 2004, I always intended that it would be moved around the country so that different areas of Malawi could take advantage of the boost in tourism, social outreach and economic benefits that the festival brings.
“The move is also designed to help keep the festival feeling fresh for the loyal audience that attend each year and allow them to experience the festival in a different location. Chintheche Inn is one of the most beautiful parts of the lake and I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to build on the partnership that we established in 2015 with Mzuzu University, focused around their Tourism and Events programme,” he added.
Since its inception in 2004, Lake of Stars has brought its unique blend of local and international talent to all three regions of Malawi, helping to boost tourism across the country and generating over $4 million for the economy during that time. Lake Malawi itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world.
As part of Lake of Stars’ tradition of engaging with the community within which it operates, a partnership has been established with Root To Fruit, a tree-planting enterprise located at Chintheche, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of the festival. With global temperatures rising, Root To Fruit offers an easy and effective way to care for the climate and Malawian communities. Every ten trees planted with Root to Fruit will cost just $20 which is enough to offset the pollution from a festival-goer's flight to Malawi from anywhere in the world. For more information or to make a contribution, visit the Root To Fruit website.
To attract local and regional audiences, Lake of Stars offers a variety of ticket prices:
- For Malawians, three-day tickets to Lake Of Stars cost MWK 24 000 (US$34) before 30 June, rising to MWK 32 000 ($45) from 1 July. For a list of ticket outlets in Malawi, see here.
- For those in Africa but outside Malawi, three-day passes cost R820 ($55) and can be booked here.
- For those coming from other parts of the world, tickets will cost £95 ($138) and are available here.