It was exactly 12 hours before the Lake of Stars festival and I was in the commercial city of Lilongwe, about a hundred kilometres away from Mangochi, where the festival was being held. Every conversation I overheard was either about the excitement that one had because they are going or the disappointment they have because they had failed to attend.
Even though this was my third Lake of Stars to attend, what I can say is the excitement this festival brings to those who have attended or are planning to attend is simply electric.
With over 90 performances including international acts as Uhuru, Young Fathers, Toya Delazy, and Ric Hassani. Lake of Stars 2015 simply lived up to the expectations. The diversity in the crowd, as well the lineup, is the Abracadabra that keeps the festival to be what CNN described as “one of the most respected festivals to attend in Africa.”
The first night was in one attendant’s opinion, the “unexpected hit.” South African house group Uhuru left the people continually jiving and respiring during a non-stop performance that included world famous hits like "Y-tjukutja", "Ungowami" and "The Sound." Toya Delazy followed with a blend of hip-hop, house and dance and mesmerized people with hits like "Love is in the Air." This was followed by a spectacular expression by local hiphop icon, Gwamba, whose execution left almost everyone rapping along, even if they clearly didn’t speak the local Chichewa. What was amazing about this day was the fact that a few hours before these performances on the main stage, festival attendees had already been blown away by showcases from local fusion artist, Trappa, and afro-vibes band, Konkalazi. VJ Ice, Afro-pop singer and performer, Dan Lu and George Kalukusha, a local pop singer whose lyrics and music have made him a favorite among all those who have seen him perform, also amazed the crowds with their performances.
After the Friday party was over, and by over I mean the next day came, the following two days kept the same spirit going. The weekend included a fashion show, a rendition of the vagina monologues, as well as performances from artists like Botswana’s Zeus and Shock-trap-pop brothers bFake, whose satire and sense of humor kept everyone laughing. One can't describe the weekend without remembering the incredible Lusibilo Band and Mokoomba, whose performance skills made them a darling among the locals even till now.
The festival ended in the early house of Monday with a spectacular performance from Sonye, the local hit maker whose voice was hijacked by the crowd that seemed to have memorized all of his songs. His last song for the night/morning “Tsika” was definitely a good end to the festival, leaving all the girls in a booty shaking mode and the guys in awe. After such an intense three days of good music, the only conclusion I can make is that Lake of Stars is surely worth the excitement and thrill.
Timothy Ntilosanje is a Malawian freelance writer, poet, social media guru and arts enthusiast. He specializes in art, music, tourism, culture, entertainment and youth empowerment.