By Staff Writer
Every year come August, Ugandans get that strange little tingle, a feeling grows towards september and finally it hits you, it’s Nyege Nyege and you feel no pain, only joy and hapiness from what has now become one of the most talked festivals on the planet.
Everyone has an opinion on Nyege Nyege. Those that have attended: “the best party of my life”, “life transforming experience”, “I feel recharged” and even “I met my wife at Nyege”… And those that have not attended: “Nyege Nyege is evil”, “Nyege Nyege is too wild”, “Nyege Nyege is for rastas” and the list goes on. But what if we asked the artists, the people from Njeru, the hotel owners and the minister of Tourism, they all will have positive things to say about an event that directly affects them, in a positive way.
But few people know that Nyege Nyege is actually just a part of a much greater vision for the creative industry. The founders beieve in the creative arts economy as a potentail income greater than any resources found under the ground. Before Nyege Nyege was even an idea, the founders used to work with musicians and djs and music producers, as well as filmmakers, photographers, dancers, graffiti artists and fashion designers, always aiming at building strong communities and working together to find new ways to showcase creative talents.
With the demographics and job market of Uganda in a complex bind, the founders of Nyege Nyege saw that by expanding the access to market for people in the creative sector and by giving last mile support to talented individuals, it would generate interest worldwide and create more opportunities for the artists. That brings us back to the Nyege Nyege not many people know about. The two labels they run, nyege nyege tapes and hakuna kulala have both received internationa critical acclaim, the community studios that pushes young talents to the next level, a place for bands to rehearse and a networks that now spawns the whole planet. The festival received about 500 artist applications this year, a testament to its value for the artist community.
Artists know that Nyege Nyege can make careers the same way it has made designers and restaurants, right there and then, with over 40 international bookers in attendance, an underground artist has the chance to break through. Nyege Studios train and support emerging artists, the record label Nyege Nyege Tapes and the Nyege Nyege Festival now help promote the artist to a wide audience, and then come international tours and considerable income.
Nyege Nyege Tapes now has over 25 artists on it’s roster, 75% of the making considerable income from Europea, Chinese, American and South American tours, inspiring more artists to come to Uganda and learn about East African music and the region as a whole. So the festival is a celebration of the year’s works, for artists know that this is the performance that doesn’t do playbacks, it’s where the best come and shine.
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