NyegeNyege International Music Festival takes over Jinja town in Uganda

The Boutique Foundation of Kampala successfully held the first ever Nyege Nyege International Music Festival at Nile Discovery Beach, Uganda between 16 and 18 October 2015.

Performances at NyegeNyege Festival. Photo: By Nekane Ozamiz
Performances at NyegeNyege Festival. Photo: By Nekane Ozamiz

Featuring over 40 international, regional and local music acts, Kuduro pioneer DJ Marfox, of Portugal made his African debut one to remember. It was also the first visit to Uganda for many of the international acts including the satirical rappers from Ghana FOKN Bois, Scottish sound system Mungo’s  HiFi, Mexico’s Afterodon, Belgian DJ/producer Max le Daron and West Africa’s Stevo Atambire and Art Melody.

Visitors to Nile Discovery Beach, Jinja were treated to the stunning location close to the source of the Nile. Eco-Artists Mark Pirani and Reagan Kandole created a unique decor that reminded attendees of their impact on the environment.  Food vendors Yujo, QuePasa, Holy Crepe, The Dog Pound, Blood, Black Lantern and Hollywood served a variety of international and local snacks and meals, at very affordable prices. Gourmet Rolexes and Ethiopian coffee kept the revelers going until the hours of the morning.

With two soundstages and so many critically acclaimed instrumentalists, bands, and DJs; the music did not stop until after sunrise for all three days of the festival. While the merrymakers retired to their tents, the team from Ramon Film Productions (of cult hit Who Killed Captain Alex) filmed scenes for their latest epic, and recruited festival goers to be a part of the action.

Ugandan acts were well represented on the line up. DJ Rachael, Uganda’s first female DJ showed the growth of her career by paying tribute to her Busoga roots for the opening of the festival. West Nile Fusion Band and Nilotika Cultural Ensemble expertly blended local Ugandan rhythms with modern jams. Lady Slyke and the band Jahliya showed why they are a mainstay of the Ugandan live music scene. R.P.V the Dons were proof that roots reggae is alive and thriving locally.

The large contingent from Nairobi who crossed the border for the party had plenty of hometown acts to support. Blinky Bill of Afro-Electro-Funk outfit Just A Band performed for the first time in Uganda as a solo act, thrilling the audience with deep cuts from early 2000’s R&B. Shoeshine Bwoy and his TuneDem Band proved why they are in demand for regional tours , performing a set that made first time listeners sit up and pay attention. Afro-fusion artist Makadem performed alongside self-taught ethnomusicologist and Berliner DJ Zhao.

The festival climaxed on Sunday with a performance by headliners FOKN Bois which became an intimate, acoustic set when the power on the main stage temporarily went out. Wanlov the Kubolor sang his song ‘Never Go Change’ reminding the audience ‘we are not singing about pads and diapers, but about politicians’.

Kenyan songstress Binti Afrika who performed at the event had nothing but praise for the festival. ‘The best festival I have been to so far in East Africa in terms of music, vibe, energy and excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to next year’.

NyegeNyege which has now taken live music to the Eastern region of Uganda was highly welcomed with Tom Dumba a reveler noting that Jinja can be a festive town. NyegeNyege Festival can bring the glory back to towns like Jinja’.

With the festival taking the live music to regions where live performances are few and far apart, the first edition of the NyegeNyege festival is a great milestone for Eastern Uganda. The festival which seeks to showcase underground cutting edge talent from East Africa is set to hold the second edition of the festival in July 2016. Find out more about the Boutique Foundation and NyegeNyege International Music Festival website.  

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