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Christian youth stomp the yard at Phat Fest

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American artiste Benjah performs at the Phat Fest at Lugogo Cricket Oval on Friday.

American artiste Benjah performs at the Phat Fest at Lugogo Cricket Oval on Friday. The show drew throusands of Christian youths. PHOTOS FAISWAL KASIRYE 

By John K. Abimanyi

Posted  Monday, December 16  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

More than meets the eye
The romantic
A man proposed to his girlfriend on stage, and she said yes.
The good
The lighting and stage. An extension was designed to allow performers get in the middle of and touch base with the crowds.
The not very holy:
Oh, lest we forget, the bars at the grounds were not exactly closed. So, it also is the case that even during this Christian concert, a few bottles of beer made the rounds at the back. Anyhow, this is the Kyadondo Rugby Grounds we are talking about.

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Radio adverts for Phatfest last year, said, “We will not be doing this again.” Oh how sad it would be, if that had actually come to be!
Kampala’s growing mass of urbane Christian youth, who stomped and waved their fists in the air, braving drizzles as they dazzled in the thrill of some electrifying performances on Friday night, would find it too harsh a loss to stomach.

By the time the curtains descended on this year’s event, at slightly past 1am on Saturday morning, the clouds had let go of their load, in small but persistent sprinkles of rain. That drizzle was not a party-spoiler, but a grand crowning of Christian entertainment, as fully-grown, able to hold out on its own.

The atmosphere was reinforced by the quality of sound and lighting to kill for, providing the perfect ambiance for the performances.
Levixon and Holy Keane Amooti got the proceedings underway, setting a good pace of energy and intensity, which did not slacken to the end. They led a team of Ugandan musicians, winding around to include Jackie Senyonjo, Ruyonga, Exodus and Coopy Bly.

Some of the biggest cheers were saved for Zambian musician, Pompi (It must be a Zambian thing to end names with ‘mpi’; Mampi anyone?), who had the crowd singing along to his hit, Giant Killer, and requesting for encores.

Jamaican born Benjah, probably made the best performance. Merging live and CD-backed performances, he treated his fans to a mixed serving of reggae, ragga and electro pop, like Pax 217 or the way bands like POD mix hip hop and rock.

Sho Baraka’s performance signalled that the Ugandan crowd was more Ragga leaning than they were to hip-hop. It was that little bit harder for him to work the crowd than it was for others. But his songs like 100 struck resonant chords with the crowd. In truth to hip hop character, when it came to time for sharing his testimony, Sho Baraka did it in Spoken-Word style, awing and preaching at the same time.

The namutima moment
And there too were moments of pure heavenly bliss at this year’s Phatfest. The single men out there could pick a leaf from that moment when Jackie Senyonjo cut performance of Bumper, to allow a love-struck young man, propose to his girl, Jemimah. It filled the grounds with many “aaws” and “wows” as the romantic significance of the moment settled in.

Phatfest kicked into gear after 8pm, and for five short hours, a high-on-energy atmosphere reigned over Kyadondo Rugby Grounds, with the one let-down being that there was simply not enough time to milk the performers of all their wares. It set Christianity, as a good-enough lifestyle as any for the young, who did not need to compromise their beliefs, for a bit of fun. Tell Kampala’s Christian youth that this was the last Phatfest, and you will be sure to break many hearts.

jabimanyi@ug.nationmedia.com