This past weekend saw the third edition of Africa Nouveau festival take place at Ngong Racecourse, Nairobi. The 2 day event brought together creatives from music, art, fashion and film and other industries. Organised by Blankets and Wine under this year’s theme of #afrobubblegum, the festival asked artists to show work that was created “just for the joy of it, free from prejudice and expectation”.
The festival was headlined by Kwesta on the Sunday evening, with Kenyan and East African artists keeping the crowd buzzing from the very beginning. ExGxNx GxCxGx and Suraj kicked things off on Friday, with a great follow up set from EA Wave in the evening.
On Saturday, Sichangi’s album launch, the first time he’d performed on stage with a live band, featured the ever glamorously thrifty Marushka, and the good vibes kept us glued to the stage. Muthoni Drummer Queen gave us a performance we’ve come to expect. MDQ flags waved as her brilliantly choreographed dancers provided the backdrop to her energy. She jumped around the colourful stage without letting the crowd get their breaths back. This star is on a trajectory to keep on rising.
Crowd favourite, Blinky Bill provided the last live performance on Saturday and he brought on an array of upcoming talent to share the stage with him. Featuring Mvroe, Mayonde, MDQ and others, we got a real peak into what the musical year ahead holds in Kenya. Before Taio closed the night with a nostalgic set, we had the chance to discover DJ Spilulu from the DRC, who must take the prize for the most anticipated drop of the weekend.
Sunday saw bigger crowds on the fields and by the stage. Besides the music, we had the chance to see the fantastic, interestingly curated collection #MentalTourist, who created a winding, maze like pathway into their installation. Once inside, we had the chance to see analog photography, fashion and art, as well as picking up a fortune cookie for our time. If you’re looking for proof that great things are possible while being resourceful, take inspiration from the great artists making happen.
The market offered local products from fashion to furniture, featuring brands such as Gonzala Leathers, COBE Nairobi, Madoido, ZeroByZawadi, Sandstorm, Viatu Unique and even Body Art by Lindsay.
Taking a walk to the back of the field, we got an opportunity to try out Black Rhino VR’s newest experiential creation, a collaboration which placed us abandoned in the middle of a desert to fend for ourselves. As the weekend drew to a close, Kwesta drew a crowd and gave his much anticipated performance of hit songs Spirit and Ngud’. After dark, Spinning Spades appeared with their fireballs, as a crowd encircled their flaming performance.