Here’s to many more: Happy First Anniversary Afronation!
In case you just woke up or you spent the last year under a rock, we are here to celebrate the first year of the first afrobeat festival in Europe!
But let us do this in order, shall we?
The concept of bringing such an amazing festival together was powered by the genius minds of Adesugun Adeosun (Smade Entertainment) and Obi Asika, in collaboration with huge event organising brands such as Live Nation and the Travel Republic to mention a few.
In a time in history where all third and second-generation immigrants were rediscovering their roots through afrobeats artistry and Afro-centric events and platforms, it was only right to culminate an ongoing effort with such a beautiful demonstration for our culture.
Couple that with the breathtaking landscape offered by the stunning Praia de Rocha in Portugal and the amazing weather, that did not disappoint, giving festival-goers the time of a lifetime.
If we were asked to describe the festival in three words, they would definitely be the VIBE, MELANIN, ORGANISATION.
The fact that no one knew what to expect but just purchased the tickets for the festival and flights to Portugal based on the vibe that many SmadeEvents have brought to the table, was amazing, to say the least.
Even with everyone coming from different regions of the motherland, all you could feel was the sense of unity and the love for the culture in all its dimension that characterise our generation. All of these elements together made Afronation a unique vibe.
Anyone that went can easily confirm that! No drama, no issues with the very strict Portuguese police, amazing food and entertainment offered from the very early hours of the afternoon till the raise of the first ray of sunshine in the morning. A unique vibe indeed.
Afronation was also a celebration of Melanin in its most diverse and creative forms as all shades of black people from different backgrounds populated all aspects of the festival.
From all over Europe and beyond, the most beautiful ladies with their own unique styles, to the most handsome chilled looking guys, to the most talented set of dancers and entertainers, to the most diverse set of DJs and workers on site. Arguably one of the most beautiful representations and display of the magic that melanin is.
Last but not least, we need to take a moment to congratulate and appreciate the organising team for their expert levels of organisation during this festival. It is common to be sceptical about black-owned business when it comes to organisation, but the kind displayed by the event managers for Afronation was unprecedented.
Everything was calculated and designed by taking into consideration every detail under the sun. It was clearly a well-designed festival that aimed to the upmost smooth running and enjoyment of the partakers.
The first Afronation was hands down a 10/10 experience.
The huge success of its first edition led the brand to create multiple franchises to take the festival all over the world. One to mention is the take on Ghana during the “Year of the return” in December 2019. The traction did not only bring people back home from all over the world but also heavily inflated the economy of Ghana.
Following the series of success, Afronation was set to land in Puerto Rico in March 2020 and back where it all started in Portugal in July 2020.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic all around the world led to the cancellations of all big events across the world, in which Afronation had to follow suit.
There is a lot of criticism surrounding the way the Afronation brand dealt with the issue at hand. Although we believe communication could have been handled much better and people should have been given the option to get a refund, we also recognise that it is a festival in its first year of life.
Unlike bigger festivals that can count more than 5 editions, everything surrounding Afronation is new and no one expected things to unfold the way they did. Contrary to what many think, dealing with a world pandemic is not an easy task to handle, especially when the governments are not able to communicate effectively regarding the situation.
We are sure that everyone has learned a big lesson from what has happened, and if ever such was to happen in the future, things will be dealt with accordingly.
What we condemn firmly in the crucification of a whole movement and organisation over events that are out of their control. Discarding and destroying the message and the purpose of the festival is a clear symptom that there is a grace that needs to be given in the way we support black businesses, while we also ensure that these businesses are giving the best service possible in order to grow to be the empire and legacy that we desire for them to be.
There needs to be mutual respect and support of each other with conviction. The Afronation legacy goes above and beyond the consequences of a global pandemic, the Afronation legacy is about the will and demand to have more Afrobeats festivals.
The Afronation legacy is about African artists selling out arenas and doing global tours, the Afronation legacy is also about having the first Afrobeats official chart curated by the same team that entertained us during the festival day programmes.
This is what Afronation is about. So before you decide to jump on the cancel bandwagon, take all of this is into consideration.
Once again, Happy First Anniversary Afronation.
Thank you for your undeniable input that you have brought to the movement, and see you next year, bigger, better and stronger.
Lastly, stay up to date with all you need to know about African music at SOA, right here.