This summer, the world bore witness to one of the most groundbreaking feats to take place within African music ( Afro Nation Music Festival) in most recent times.
Afro Nation took place in Portugal and not only put Afrobeats centre stage as the first African music festival to ever take place but it also highlighted the economic power that can be generated when collaboration, togetherness and sponsorship collide.
The festival was titled “The Biggest Urban Music Beach Festival in Europe”. But if you really take the time to think about what it really takes to not only pull off a festival of that magnitude but to to do successfully, you’d definitely agree that the festival lives up to its heavyweight title.
Especially having been carried out in Portugal to have large number of predominately black people and Afrobeats lovers that up space in a land that is deeply rooted in racism has an insidious past of colonialism and transatlantic slave trade (that’s another topic for another day).
Even just getting caught up on social media and carried away in the whirlwind of excitement that festival goers shared into the online universe it was more than enough to make anyone plan to attend the next instalment of Afro Nation ( Afro Nation Music Festival) .
The festival wasn’t plagued with the stereotypes of “black people/African timing”.
There was no dark cloud of mismanagement or prophesied criminal, it truly came across as being all about the inclusivity that the Afrobeats genre has managed to draw the hearts of many from different walks of life since its conception.
By no means are we saying that it was perfect. We won’t get carried away in printing a picture of a world of roses and daffodils across Portimao beach, when all you have to do is google and twitter search and you’ll find criticisms of slight tardiness and screeching vocals.
However, Afro Nation ( Afro Nation Music Festival) still stood tall as the champion that Afrobeats lovers had been waiting for, an experience they didn’t even know they needed until it happened.
From the systems set in place through wristbands and food and drink pre-paid token to accessibility for festival goers to go from local supermarkets to their accommodation and back to the beach with what seemed like ease (or maybe it was the pure excitement and adrenaline of the whole experience that made it seem so easy breezy), whatever the case, it seems the organisers took all things into consideration and didn’t cut corners.
Let’s not forget the reason the people came in the first place. The artists! With the likes of Burna Boy, D’Banj, JHus, Jidenna, Teni, WizKid and Davido shutting things down it was no surprise that music lovers from across the African Diaspora were willing to enjoy themselves in front of a backdrop of ocean waves.
Kudos to Smade and the host of organisers including Live Nation, Chop Daily and Native to name just a few, for putting on such an amazing weekend.
Not only have they solidified themselves as formidable organisers with a huge inaugural festival in the bag, but they’ve started out on strong legs to carry on with a very solid legacy in the music festival space.
As well as proving once again that African music is the greatest export out of the continent that can flex its economic muscle anywhere it lands.
It’s no wonder that people have already started planning next years festival while others aren’t waiting that long as their already anticipating the reaching the shores of Ghana for the festivals African introduction.
Accra is about to be lit and turned upside down into another world from 27th-30th December 2019 and Puerto Rico 18th – 21st March 2020.