The MTN Nyege Nyege festival came, saw and beyond conquered this past weekend and I’m going through some serious Post Festival Depression(PFD).The struggle to get back to my regularly scheduled programming has been real. It took me forever to unpack, sort my laundry and cut my wristband off; I had the absolute time of my life. This right here is easily in my top three favorite moments in life, and that’s saying something because I’m out here living!
After being voted 2017’s best event, this year’s festival promised to be even bigger and better and boy did it not disappoint with Telecomm giants MTN sponsoring the event.4days of nonstop partying with over 300 artists from more than 30 countries on 5 different stages. The venue; Nile Discovery Beach.
Ghile, Dennis and I opted to do 2 of the 4 days and set off for Jinja all bright eyed and incredibly excited Friday afternoon, using the scenic, serene and very enjoyable Kayunga road, we got to Jinja in about 3 hours. Heading straight to the hotel; Brisk Triangle in hopes of checking in quick, grabbing a bite and heading to Nyege, we arrived to the most depressing scene ever! Brisk Hotel is not what it advertises itself to be online; it’s a lie, an ugly lie! We were duped, catfished….hotelfished! It’s more like an old school insane asylum, the rooms; particularly the carpeting is so disgusting! There’s also a lingering smell from the lake, their pride and joy one can’t even access, also one of the rooms they tried to offer me had the largest lizard claiming the bathroom as its territory! Last year it was frogs now this! What was is it with Jinja’s wildlife and I?! Someone said this was once the best hotel in Jinja; this must have been back when Zaire was a relative term because I can’t think of a single positive thing to say.
After a very futile attempt at securing rooms elsewhere, we figured we’d just deal with what we had and went on down to Nyege. Getting our tickets took a few moments and in we went, there was so much going on, different performers, the main stage, the MTN tent, the Bell stage and most importantly the food court with all sorts of cuisine. We grabbed some lunch from Rice Stop; incredibly juicy, moist burgers. I was happy! Good and fed we went on down to the main stage, bumping into people we knew, acquiring livations and chilling. As night fell, more people arrived and we opted to explore the place, settling at the Eternal Disco which was my favorite last year. This year, I don’t know how, it was even better. The Dj’s were fire! I loved the Ugandan music mostly. We partied till about 2AM, calling it a night with the promise of the next day being even better. I got back to the hotel dirty as hell, tired, sore, and happy and just the right amount of slizzered!
The next morning, my spirit animal, partner in crime and just all round favorite cousin Lynette invited me to Jinja Nile resort for a pool session, The boys and I went over to Java House for breakfast first. The service left a lot to be desired and the food was very disappointing. A dryer Turkey and bacon sandwich has never been made! How they turned that bacon into a flip flop is beyond me.
Jinja Nile resort is a wonderful little patch of earth; I hate swimming so lounging by the pool was just as nice. Lynette who initially was going back to KLA decided to stay. Joy! Later in the afternoon we tried out Bourbon for lunch, very strange vibe and music too loud for comprehension so we tried All friends Bar and had pizza instead.
After a not so quick stop at the “hotel” we were back at the Nyege venue at about 7pm, what stood out for me was how well thought out the different stages were, each catering to completely different tastes .You had the Bell and MTN tents playing the best Ugandan music, the Eternal and Dark stages doing EDM\Dance, the main stage with different acts, the Shisha lounge and UgandaWaragi tent hosting a silent disco, a bit odd I thought but it was popping.
The music and entertainment aside, Nyege was also a great way to make some good money, I saw every stall and every business particularly the Rolex stands make some type of killing which was great.
My favorite spot had to be the Eternal disco, there was this female DJ from Berlin, Jesus Christ was she good, her name escapes me but the sheer brilliance of her set will stay with me forever! Ghile and Dennis left at some point while Lynette and I went ham well into the wee hours of the morning, at about 5am, we met one of the DJs; DJ Sofa, super cool guy who convinced us to stick around for the sunrise, sadly, the universe had other plans and it started raining at about 6am so we were out. After about 3 hours of shut eye, we packed up and hit the road heading back to Kampala.
Nyege Nyege is hands down the best thing that has happened to me and I feel Uganda as a whole in a while, to see so many different nationalities and all in one space harmoniously partying like its 1999 makes me so happy and glad this festival exists. To think there was talk of cancelling this festival is a sad indicator of the sheer amount of ignorance reigning free out here. If you haven’t done Nyege yet, please do, it’s just one of those experiences you need in your life! Great food,the best music,Art,Enterprenuership and the most free spirited wonderful group of people ever.
Ghile and Lynette, I can’t think of anyone else that could have made this experience as epic and memorable as it was. Ya’ll are legendary. Thank you. X.