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Glitz, glamour and partying galore of the Sunwaves fest

Wednesday July 07 2021
Glitz pic
By Lilian Ndilwa

Location is everything when it comes to entertainment. When they unknowingly picked Zanzibar as a new hot spot for the Sunwaves Festival, the organizers of the Romania-originated event barely knew that seeking a new experience in terms of surroundings would eventually convince them to forever expand beyond Romania as they have now officially made Zanzibar one of the only two spots in the world where the festival will be taking place.

This mighty Minimal festival has got what it takes to contend with the big shots. From the first day I came across the advertisement for the 27th edition of Sunwaves Festival in Zanzibar, the first thought in the back of my mind was that they were to showcase talents from international Disk Jockeys who were publicly outlined as the headliners of the festival, little did I know it was one incredible treat that can act as a lesson to music stakeholders in Tanzania.

Of course I made some guesses in their choice of the place for the festival, one being Zanzibar’s undeniable attractiveness.

For its 27th time with over 33 Djs from all around the globe, beachside stage and 24/7 electronic music sure complements the chilled-out vibes in the isle.

As I arrived at the five day event which started from June 17 to 21 this year, my eyes were caught by the nicely and light blue painted walls and a standing stone at the gate-less entrance, my timing had not been perfect since most Zanzibar residents around Stonetown know a place called ‘Dengu’ and not ‘Dongwe’, so this made my travelling a bit twisted as it took a while to find the actual place of the event which is sited on the eastern part of Pemba Island.

There were more than fifty cars, most of which were marked by the names of hotels and tourism agencies as well as casual taxis, parked at the sandy parking lot sited near Dongwe beach, and the decoration lights in multiple colors gave off a hint that the event was just getting started.

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At the parking lot, there was a mid-sized tent in which people who were selling vintage clothes and artistic materials like necklaces, bracelets and earrings made of beads were lined up.

From the tradition of Sunwaves festivals, they like decorating the sites of their events naturally, in terms of wooden dance stages, transferable plastic toilets, wooden stairs and hutched speaker’s carriers, all built from scratch. The environment was the same in the festival in Zanzibar, complimented by mini bars in between the dance stages and the aroma of multiple foods that was cooked at the event.

I was awed and puzzled by the blend of the electronic music and beats played simultaneously in the two stages that were built side by side, by the number of people in the event, most of whom were from Romania where the event originates from, the connection people in the event had with the beats that were played detailed that they valued music in a way that made them travel all the way to Zanzibar for the festival.

About fifteen minutes after my arrival, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Zanzibar, Lela Muhamed Mussa, officially announced the opening of the Sunwaves Festival.

“I am informed that there are already five thousands tourists, most of whom are from Romania, who have already booked for hotels and confirmed to attend this festival. That is not a small number to receive at a time considering the current Covid-19 situation in the world,” she said.

Ms Mussa further appraised the