Nyege Nyege festival returns, but playing by different rules

What you need to know:

  • The Ugandan fest, built on love & passion for music will be held under government supervision.

Nyege Nyege will take place despite another government attempt to ban it.

After a two-year hiatus, the Nyege Nyege Festival is back in Uganda in an all new location to enjoy the wonderful performances of its roster for one of the world’s most innovative electronic events.

The 2022 edition of Uganda’s wildly popular electro music festival Nyege Nyege was on September 7 given the go-ahead despite calls for its ban by a group of politicians.

The Nyege Nyege festival will now take place next week but under “strict guidelines,” according to Ugandan Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja

Nabbanja approved the festival after reaching an agreement with the organisers and other stakeholders, as long as it takes place under strict guidelines that would be issued by the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity.

The festival, which will take place from September 15 to September 18 on the Nile’s shores, near Itanda Falls, in the heart of Busoga region, a few kilometres from Jinja town in Uganda.

In its infancy, the Nyege Nyege festival began as Boutiq Electronique parties thrown at the late-night Tilapia club by Derek Debru and Arlen Dilsizian back in 2013.

It later went on to become a full-blown festival with its first iteration hosted in 2015 at an abandoned resort in Jinja. It focused on reconciling African genres with electronic music, instilling a constant need for innovation with Nyege Nyege’s trademark, “uncontrollable urge to dance”.

Despite some backlash from the surrounding community the 2019 edition was a definite success and that’s why it’s been especially excruciating to wait for the festival’s next instalment.

The only relief was Nyege Nyege’s boisterous presence in the electro scene, always introducing new exciting sounds and promising artistes including Kabeaushé, MC Yallah, Ecko Bazz in Music for the Eagles with an eagerness to keep the momentum strong, participating in several events with stages at Glastonbury, Primavera, Roskilde, Dour, at the Garage Noord in Amsterdam and in Paris last July.

Over 200 shows showcasing the extent of the Nyege Nyege craze that will culminate during this year’s reunion. The urge to dance couldn’t be stronger.

Fans’ patience seems, indeed, to have been rewarded. Beyond the dreamy location, for its 7th edition, Nyege Nyege has seen fit to prepare for a line-up of humongous proportions with over 300 artists programmed. The crew that came to see us in Paris will of course be there. It includes Turkana, R3ign Drops, Flo, Otim Alpha, Quest?onmarq, Flo, Hibotep, DJ Diaki, De Schuurman, PÖ, among others.

The four-day party brings together artists from across Africa to entertain about 10 000 revellers from the East African region and around the world. The event is marking its return since 2019 after break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, we will integrate new activities such as rafting, quad bikes rides, workshops and sunset cruises,” Nyege Nyege Festival co-director Derek Debru said. “But most importantly, we want to improve our camping facilities because all the biggest festivals in the world are all camping festivals.”

Revellers will have the opportunity to experience the innovative stage design, a luxurious camping experience, and new tourism activities, such as rafting the Nile rapids all the way to the festival’s shores.

Nyege Nyege’s commitment to discovering the next big thing will manifest itself with the presence of recently introduced artists, such as Chrisman, DJ Travella, YUNIS and DJ Skothane, all present on the compilation L’Esprit de Nyege 2020. Watch out for Kenyan rapper Boutross, also present on the album, and Ghanaian-Nigerian diva Adomaa as well!