Why you should attend a festival this year

01:11 by Kaggwa Andrew
Every year, on December 31, people look up to the sky as they wait for it to clock 12am; you know that announces the New Year. There, they make resolutions usually based on things they would like to see change in their lives.
Resolutions have always been about becoming healthier, working harder and probably settling down, very few times have people thought of the way they spend their free time. No one makes a resolution to probably give local creative more attention like the ones accorded to Nigerians.
Thus, we thought we could introduce to you a new way you can spend your free time this year; festivals.
World over, many of the festival celebrate excellence the arts in all genres, food, fashion, music, dance, theatre and culture among others.
In Uganda, there’s a belief that festivals target the rich or the minority white, who in our minds are crazy about African art and culture, most of the times we believe that such celebrations have nothing new to offer to us since we’ve grown up around everything they tend to glorify.
However, what many of such detractors forget is that glorifying what is uniquely ours is what makes us standout; Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast or Benin export more of their music to the west because of the X factor you will find on their songs – they play with local traditional instruments and thus, their sound is neither manipulated or emulated.
And that’s what festivals celebrate – authenticity.
Nothing against Nigerian or Jamaican emulation but It's easy to hate mainstream concerts. They have been commercialized that instead of basking in glow of good music, you will be hijacked by merchandises and some artiste screaming in a language he doesn’t understand. 
If that is not enough, concerts are highly confronted by the same names performing the same playlist on a CD backup, it becomes painful, even for devoted concert followers; like why brave the noise when you can listen to all that on your headsets.
Support local talent
It will be a good thing to celebrate and support our art for a change this year, that’s of course if it irks you that all artistes considered African legends are not Ugandan, they are names like Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo Brenda Fassie, and Youssou N'Dour among others. With a festival, our artistes – the brilliant ones with an authentic bankable sound get to showcase to a spread audience of Ugandans, tourists and expatriates.
It is from such a stage that you will be recommended for bigger festivals and may be endorsements; all the names above are products of home support and now are African heavy hitters.
Discover new talent
Most of the times, radio presenters have been accused of failing to get off their seats to try look out for fresh talent and thus starve the public with the same music from the obvious names. Well, to break the jinx, may be try a festival, who can forget the excitement caused by an unknown reggae artiste Sandra from Jinja when she hit the Bayimba Stage last year or Slim Emcee’s enchanting performance at Rwanda’s Kigali Up.
The kinds of talent like Tamba, Sifa Kelele, Afrie and Burna MC among others are what festivals serve, stuff your candy cotton radio shows will not deliver.
Disapprove the president about arts
One of the most publicized art gatherings Uganda has seen was in 2004, dubbed House of Kaine, it was a fashion exhibit whose headlining designer was Natasha Kainembabazi, the first daughter. The event would later boost of the first family attendance and yes her creations were worth writing about.
Whenever there’s an arts event and it is shunned by the public, the president’s statement about arts being useless is proved right, even when his daughter is an arts buff too.
This year, if we show up in droves to all the festivals, the media will pay attention and definitely the president, who we guess may change his mind about them being stupid considering that a number of artistes have already been bankrolled to lighten up his campaign.
Employment purposes
Uganda has a critical unemployment problem, few artists have tried to create jobs for themselves but have still been rendered unemployed because of little support from the public. With everyone pursuing a white collar acceptable job, we have talented saxophonists, dancers, actors and musicians combing our streets in the name of job searching – these could possibly be your brothers and sisters. If we can create a culture of supporting the arts, starting this year, you will be surprised by the number of jobs we could have created.


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