It’s a weekend of music festivals

Friday November 23 2018


By Mpoki Thomson

The bustling city of Dar es Salaam and some other major cities in the country never disappoint when it comes to end of the year entertainment events.

As a reveler, you’re sometimes spoilt for choice trying to figure out which event provides value for money.

As some events garner all the media and public attention, others go under the radar and are only remembered by a few who live to tell the tale.

But all the same, one is sure to have plenty of options on where they want to spend their quality time as local artistes run havoc on stage.

This year, unlike in the past, has gotten people high on their heels in anticipation for the festivities that lie ahead.

Two main events have overshadowed the rest, along the way creating friction on social media over which event will be the ‘big dog’ in town.


These two events come at a time when broadcast media division in Tanzania seems to be catching steam, with every player in the industry aiming for the throne.

Dar es Salaam hosts the Tigo Fiesta, an event under Clouds Media Group which is considered by many as one of the biggest music spectacle in East and Central Africa hosting big stars in the industry.

On the other hand in Mtwara the Wasafi Festival, a maiden event under the flagship of Wasafi media, anchored by Diamond Platnumz, also claiming a spotlight in Tanzania’s entertainment industry.

While the former has been a tradition for close to two decades now, the latter is a newbie flexing its muscles, in an attempt to challenge the established order which was once the realm of the big players.

Tigo Fiesta

Referred to as “East Africa’s Biggest Stage,” Tigo Fiesta is also the country’s oldest music extravaganza that started off as Summer Jam in 1999 before organizers changed its name to Fiesta. To the organisers it is a celebration of Bongo Flava where artistes get to tour regional towns, putting up performances that many a reveler could have only dreamt about. This year the party trail went to 14 stops in regional towns.

The event has become a nationally-recognised and respected music festival, grooming young talents while bringing others to prominence. The event is considered as a career launch pad and it is on this very stage that many of today’s prominent Bongo Flava artistes such as Diamond Platinum announced their arrival.

An annual Fiesta event attracts a total attendance of nearly 700,000 people and it is highlighted by the Fiesta Grand Finale show in Dar es Salaam that has an annual attendance of 30,000+ people.

Over the years Fiesta became popular for bringing A-list musicians from the US such as Ludacris, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Sean Paul, Rick Ross and many others.

To many regular Tanzanians and even the local artistes, this was always a rare a chance of sharing the same space with the A-listers, one that was always worth the hustle of navigating through an overcrowded arena.

Getting a glimpse of the US superstars or even managing to take a photo with them came as an added bonus.

Gradually things started changing, the hunger for US hitmakers diminished, the big foreign names that would often get the crowd hyped didn’t have the same effect anymore, a new dawn was about to be unleashed, an era that embraced local artistes came at the expense of the expensive foreign imports.

The latter stages of 2010s marked a new beginning for Tanzania’s emblematic music fest. With the rise of artistes such as Diamond Platnumz, who ironically presents a challenge to Fiesta this year, consumers of local music became content with an all-local artistes lineup.

Those who used to wait in anticipation for foreign acts from either US or Nigeria had their hopes dashed, but would only be revived momentarily when at a random show either Davido or Wiz Kid would make an appearance. The grand finale will feature performances from artistes such as Weusi, Fid Q, Dogo Janja, Rostam, Chege, Madee Ali, Maua Sama, Whozu, Rosa Ree among others.

This year’s event, dubbed Tigo Fiesta, has the tag line ‘Vibe Kama Lote’.

Under normal circumstances the grand finale would still receive a lot of attention from music lovers, but this year’s event is receiving a different kind of attention because it has a new twist to it. For the first time in its history, commentators believe that Fiesta’s cradle is finally being tested by a rival ready to go pound-for-pound until the last round. If you think this is just a perception, well, both events are taking place on the same date – November 24.

While Fiesta’s grand finale will be staged at Leader’s club grounds in Dar es Salaam, Wasafi festival will unfold in Mtwara at Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium.

Wasafi Festival

The name “Wasafi” is not alien to many Tanzanians who’ve been following the local music industry for the better part of the last 10 years. Started by Diamond Platnumz, who’s considered to be one of Africa’s biggest musicians currently, Wasafi has become more than just a music label. Since its inception, Wasafi Classic Baby (WCB) has gone on to become one of Tanzania’s leading music brands. At the moment, WCB has its own radio and TV station, now they’ve added Wasafi Festival to the roster.

What is of particular interest is that, the three brands under Wasafi (radio, TV, music festival), have all been founded this year.

As such, there is no precedence to speak of, nor is there any illustrious legacy. But what Wasafi Festival is promising to offer can be traced back to the artistes signed under the WCB music label.

When we talk of Bongo Flava in 2018, it is an undeniable fact that hits from WCB have dominated airwaves not only in Tanzania, but neighbouring countries as well.

Boasting of talents such as Harmonize, Rayvanny, Lava Lava, Queen Darleen, Marombosso and Diamond Platnumz, WCB has a lineup that could be the envy of many.

Had Rich Mavoko not parted ways with the label this year, he too would have been added to the lineup, but he now seems to have pitched camp on the other side of the fence.

Wasafi Festival, taking place on November 24, will feature artistes under WCB label, but also other acts such as Nikki Mbishi, Country Boy, One the Incredible, Moni Central Zone, Sterio, Prince Dully Sykes, Chin Bees, Navy Kenzo, Dudu Baya, among others.

There will also be a performance from Nigerian heavyweight Wiz Kid on the night of the event. While Fiesta is sponsored by Tigo, Wasafi festival has received backing from Pepsi, who are the main sponsors. Mo Faya energy drink that’s under AliKiba had been set to offer sponsorship to Wasafi Festival as well.

As the spotlight lies heavily on the Fiesta Vs Wasafi Festival saga, another Bongo Flava heavyweight AliKiba, also has an event of his own, on the same date as Fiesta and Wasafi festival.

eople might not be talking much about Kiba’s Kahama event that will be staged on the national grounds, but with the influence he has in bongo flava and the number of fans he commands, his event shouldn’t be overlooked as a possible contender on the day.