The party scene in Tanzania keeps getting better. Each week, there seems to be some form of event to look forward to over the weekend. From fashion and arts to music, these events come in numbers.

Yesterday, a new music festival hit the ground running. It joins the many that Dar es Salaam revellers are privileged to be part of when the rest of the world seems secluded. Dubbed ‘Marafiki Music Festival,’ this new entrant kicked off at the Slow Leopard in Masaki, where the ‘fest’ will run for two consecutive days before moving to Bagamoyo for the final phase on Saturday.

Themed ‘A Nation with Culture,’ Marafiki has brought together 13 music bands who’ll entertain the audience with live music and other captivating performances. This high number of performers has necessitated two venues to be lined up for the great session of nonstop entertainment.

At Slow Leopards in Dar es Salaam, revellers will be treated to unrivalled selection of interactive live bands, while the Bagamoyo setting will involve a host of diverse entertainment options.

Isack Peter Abeneko, the Festival Director, says the Marafiki Music Fest is a platform for live music performance intended to reflect the nation’s focus on the development of social and economic activities. It can also be leveraged as a market place where the creative in the music and art business convene, thereby attracting the general public.

“We are creating a meeting point for artists and musicians both local and international to join this movement which looks to uplift the local entertainment scene,” Abeneko says.

Adding to that, he says the festival is intended to be a social centre-point where artists and young people are nurtured and taught on the importance of live music and the celebration of cultural dynamics in Tanzania.

The festival also builds capacity for musicians through the workshops organized by the festival management with the aim of giving a platform for artists to learn and ask technical questions that will help them grow their careers.

“The three-day festival kicked off yesterday with workshops in the morning at Nafasi Art Space before being followed by live music performances in the evening,” says Abeneko.

A rich list of artists was assembled for the showdown. Creative folks such as Rich Lumambo, Msaga Sumu, Gravitti, Siti & The Band from Zanzibar and Ze Spirit band are among the artists who took part in the workshops. The workshops had different topics, including Music business and Electronic Press Kit (EPK), Self-Management and artists Managements and how to get bookings in national and international levels.

Lead Singer at Siti & The Band, Amina Mohammed, commended the opportune timing of the festival, saying that it comes at a time when Tanzania is facing an attrition of music festival which do live performances. “The launch of Marafiki is a gateway for artists to get an opportunity to learn on the art of playing live music on stage.

She sees the expansiveness of the venues as an opportunity for more artistes to be able to showcase their skills on stage.

Joy Sendama, Marafiki Festival Coordinator, couldn’t conceal her joy for the ushering in of the new fest. As the person in charge of coordinating the performances and other aspects of the event, she says she couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

She says quite a high number of applicants looking forward to taking part in the festivities were received, however, due to limited funds to facilitate groups from different parts of Africa, the fest could only manage to select a few.

“This being the first time hosting this event, we shall learn from any shortcomings, but we also urge sponsors and donors to invest in such cultural events in order to popularize local cultures to a wider audience.

Another fest coordinator, Shaban Mugado, says the idea of Marafiki Music Festival was born two years ago from Marafiki Nite event. The Marafiki nite event – a monthly event that gives an opportunity to musicians and their friends and fans to enjoy a wide selection of music has become a great spot for interaction whilst enjoying a vast array of music and entertainment selection.

“From Marafiki Nite event, we thought of coming up with something big that would benefit others in Africa. So, this is just the beginning. We are looking forward to doing bigger and better projects in the future,” says Mugado.