Written by Timothy Ntilosanje
The Lake of Stars Festival is an internationally recognized music festival that happens on the shores of Lake Malawi each year. This year the event marked thirteenth year of the sensational entertaining music and arts festival. Last year, the highest number of acts performed (over 90) and attendance rose by 4,500 from the previous year.
Lake of Stars fest provides a positive story for Malawi and Africa, and its key role in countering prevailing negative media messages about the continent is recognized through Lake of Stars being asked by Comic Relief to join their See Africa Differently advisory group. This year, the joys of Malawi's 'Lake of Stars' appeared again as songs, dance, culture and art travels from across the globe that came to perform in one of Africa's most diverse festival for the three-day event, and nearly a hundred acts performed across 2 stages, the Airtel beach stage and A4AY main stage.
The 2016 episode added to the refreshing dips in the lake during the 3 days of the festival itself, stargazing up at a haze-free sky, the experience of Malawi’s welcoming people and an opportunity to discover new musical talent.
This year, the growing attendee numbers say it all, Lake of Stars is one-of-a-kind and has become a worthwhile stop in the traveler’s Southern Africa adventure. Essentially, the festival’s mission is out front and center, as organizers strive to bring the fields of arts, tourism and development together, providing entertainment while bettering the lives of the Malawian people. Founder Will Jameson is committed to the local communities, supporting nearby schools, providing employment and aims to develop Malawi’s cultural clout in the process.
Among many other activities that took place at the auspicious event Africa was also given chance to express its root through culture showcase and traditional dances. This was shown when the Burundian nationals that are currently residing in Dzaleka refugee camp danced the Amaholo traditional dance originates from Burundi but was performed by some which are not Burundians another sign that this year's Lake of Stars has eliminated country boundaries to the people. Simon Nzigamasabo, one of member of Amaholo drummers, told media that he is so excited to have performed at the event as Amaholo "am excited to come at the event not as just a refugee but as Amaholo one thing that is unifying all nations."
This year Lake of Stars was spiced by various artists both local and international artists South Africa's Freshly Ground of the Moto wa Yaka (fusion of Malawian and South African culture) hit song headlined together with Timo Maas, who is a German Dj that has recently break into the airwaves. Zambia's Roberto joined local artists Tay Grin and Sonye to performing their recently released song ‘Sugar Mami’ on the main stage after he had done his set with a fellow Zambian Ozzy in spicing up this year's event. Another remarkable thing about Lake of Stars that they give a chance to budding artists to perform on the main stage. For instance, we saw Swisha, a local upcoming artist perform on the main stage as the opening act.
Will Jameson, the festival founder, thanked revelers for their continued support to make the fest a success and on-going over the years up-to-date.
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.