Like has been for the past four editions, revelers in their thousands descended upon the often sleepy Nile Discovery Beach, Njeru for Nyege Nyege Festival.
Now probably Africa’s biggest and liveliest arts fete – recently named among the top 30 new festivals in the world for 2019 by Fest300 – the fifth edition saw partiers from different countries and walks of life dance, drink, smoke (cigarettes and all sorts of contraband) and enjoy acts from over 300 performers and DJs.
Fest300 is a San Francisco-based company that publishes an annual list of the 300 top festivals.
Although it was supposed to be a four-day festival, probably half of the partygoers did not leave the venue until Monday afternoon.
On Sunday, hundreds were seen heading to the ticketing points to pay Shs150,000 for the one day passes. Others in the camping area were yet to pack up while several others, mostly youth and ‘newbees’ loitered around any of the five stages strategically located at various points of the five- acre venue.
The Uganda Waragi camp in particular was the most popular. Here partiers engaged in all sorts of outdoor games as they enjoyed Uganda Waragi cocktails. They also got a chance to express themselves on the UG’s Wall of Expression and pose for pictures with Pineapple, Coconut and Premium flavours of Uganda Waragi.
As usual, plain-clothes security agents deployed heavily in and outside the venue, as well as in the camping area. Their presence helped maintain sanity. According to a police source, the number of crimes committed this year reduced with only about 17 arrests made throughout the festival.
Those arrested were petty thieves or those accused of trying to gain access in the festival venue and camping area without paying entry fees.
Speaking of camping, this has become more popular with several private tents seen dotting the heavily guarded camping area. This particular option is cheaper. One was expected to part with Shs30,000 only to pitch their own tent. On the other hand, tents for hire would set you back about Shs150,000.
“Do not be surprised if by the 10th edition this festival is a week-long affair,” a Kenyan told his friend.
We will not!