If there was one thing that dominated the past weekend, it was the Nyege Nyege International Music Festival that was ongoing in Njeru at the Nile Discovery Resort in Jinja. The festival that premiered at the same venue in 2015, is currently attracting a big number of Ugandans and foreigners.
After an attempted ban by Ethics and Integrity minister Simon Lokodo, the festival has gained momentum. This year alone, it said more than 300 tourists flew into Uganda to attend the festival.
But what makes Nyege Nyege a big a fete? It is a musical celebration where different music genres are showcased with a bias towards Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
EDM has been famous in Europe since the 1980s although of recent, it has regained popularity thanks to the rise of rave dance parties or festivals in the early 2000s. Thus, by the time the Nyege Nyege organisers started their festival in 2015, the culture of rave parties had registered success in Europe and America.
Nyege Nyege offers the opportunity for both local and foreign tourists to spend less than they would at festivals such as Tomorrowland, Coachella, Burning Man or Electric Forest.
With the festival becoming popular, locals have benefitted from the big number of participants to whom they provide camping and car parking space. Some of them have set up restaurants and mobile phone shops and phone charging points.
But where is Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) or Uganda Airlines in all this? If there was one thing that did not leave the social media space, it was people questioning why the two bodies were not visible at the festival.
For instance, Uganda Airlines could have subsidised tickets for the festival as a means of advertising the national carrier. UTB cannot be excused for not showing presence at the festival.
With many tourists descending on Jinja and booking hotels, lodges and guest houses, UTB shouldn’t have failed to provide leadership and market Uganda more. How can we explain why the entire festival lacked an information tent about the wonderful places tourists can visit while in Uganda?
Nyege Nyege is a business opportunity that Uganda should not waste. In fact, if possible, Uganda needs such a party in every region.
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