All roads lead to Jinja festival

Saturday July 29 2017

1Rail will perform at the Stonefest in Jinja. PHOTO | COURTESY


Jinja town, 87 kilometres from Kampala on the shore of Lake Victoria, and the famous source of the River Nile, is gearing up to welcome the world for the inaugural StoneFest — a two-day music, arts and technology festival organised by #liveMusicJinja.

The event will be held at the Centre for Performing Arts and Culture in Jinja town, on August 4-5. Festival goers will have a variety of food to sample; games and other activities for children and adults, as well as a vendors’ marketplace featuring diverse local artisans.

Day 1

The first day of the festival will feature music by Jinja’s hottest DJs and a performance by the award-winning cultural dance troupe NileBeats.

For those seeking to engage their minds, there is also the African movie night featuring Toronto Black Film Festival selection The Lucky Specials and Voice of the People, a poetry and storytelling session with spoken word masters Jason Ntaro, Wake the Poet, Daniel Omara, Devis the Poet, and Zoey the Storyteller, and the Milege Acoustic Project.

The Nyege Nyege Festival dance party will also be on the cards to spice up the mood.


Day 2

The second day is the official food day with festival goers trying out local and international foods and making the most of what the Nile offers with boats rides and bungee jumping.

Children will have special entertainment with a world-class puppet show by American puppeteer Mark Blashford doing his latest one-man show.

The main act later that evening will present Uganda’s best live stage performers: Kaz Kasozi, Suzan Kerunen, Maro, Kelele Live Music Award winners Sandra Kay and Benjamin Spartos, Peter Ekulam, Jon Blashford, Kim Nana, 1Rail, and Jungle De Maneater.

In an interview with The EastAfrican, StoneFest director Anthony Thompson said: “This is a two-day festival that brings together patrons from all over the globe to celebrate music, arts, and technology in Jinja.

We aim to welcome excellence of all kinds in those categories, and, in so doing, promote the development of Jinja itself. Our movement is called #liveMusicJinja, which facilitates the development and promotion of live music and musicians in Jinja and the surrounding regions.


StoneFest started under the category of promotion: We already provide a monthly platform among other opportunities for showcasing live, original music in Jinja, and we realised there was no festival in Jinja where everyone was welcome to the party — both talented local artists as well as a cross-section of audience members from all walks of life — yet Jinja is bursting with talent, as well as visitors.”

Tickets are already on sale with a single day ordinary pass going for Ush10,000 ($2.7); a two-day ordinary pass is Ush15,000 ($4.1); a single day camping pass is Ush50,000 ($13.7) for Ugandans and Ush75,000 ($20.6) for foreigners; a two-day camping pass is Ush75,000 ($20.6) for Ugandans and Ush100,000 ($27.4) for foreigners. The campsite is located at the Nile Park, at the Source of the Nile.

As part of the build-up to the festival, organisers will award musicians, visual artists and tech innovators through the Kelele Live Music Awards (music), the Urban Art Experiment (visual art), and the Creative Impact Awards (technology) categories.

“Creativity spurs innovation, and innovation is at the heart of every impactful movement,” said Thompson said, adding: “We’ve designed these awards in order to recruit, develop, and reward the innovators and their works.”