The 19th edition of Sauti za Busara, one of Africa's finest music festival reached its peak at the weekend with a taste of Singeli – Tanzania’s music melody – and a message of hope from the government for the continuity of the extravaganza.
Festival director Yusuf Mahmoud had earlier sowed seeds of doubt in holding future festivals due to cash constraints.
“Usually, on the first day, we announce the dates for the next year's festival. I’m sorry to say this, but we are not sure whether we will be able to raise enough funds for it," he the opening night.
But, as revellers were having fun, the Tanzanian government, on the last day of the extravaganza, committed to ensuring the continuity of the festival.
Fun and entertainment
The three-day music festival took place at magical Old Fort in Stone Town, in Zanzibar, from February 11 to February 13 midnight, giving music enthusiasts a taste of African live music and vibe, with thousands of partygoers in attendance.
Sauti za Busara Music Festival kicked off on Friday night with an array of performances from artistes from various parts of the continent – Uganda, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Revellers queued from as early as 2pm on Friday to purchase their tickets that were being sold at Tsh16,000 ($7) for residents, Tsh120,000 ($52) for other African citizens, while Tsh240,000 ($104) for international visitors.
The VIP grandstand three-day pass was sold at Tsh360,000 ($156).
Sauti za Busara kicked off with Upendo Manase, an afro-fusion artiste from Zanzibar, followed by South Africa’s Nomufosi, then Ben Pol, with Zan Ubuntu closing the night.
For each day, partygoers enjoyed performances from eight artistes per night—from a taste of Zanzibar’s classic Taarab group Nadi Ikwan Safaa, Zimbabwe’s Evans MPfumela Mapfumo, South Africa’s Msaki and Sjava, and Congo Brazaville’s Fanie Fayar took the fans through an extraordinary music tour.
Susan Kerunen from Uganda, Bahati Female Band (Tanzania), Fanie Fayar (Congo), Zambia's Sampa the great and Sholo Mwamba left revellers yearning for more.
“This is the best festival in all of East Africa, I have been here for five years in a row and I will never miss it for anything. The live music, the rhythms, the food, the beach, everything was fantastic,” commented Kenyan Wambui Kinyua.
Just as the fans were entertained, the artistes too appreciated the attendance.
“I am very amazed that the crowd turned up at 5pm, because I was thinking 5pm is too early for the festival but fans of the live music surprised me,” said Ms Kerunen.