Commando Mission??? Yes, Commando….if you saw my tent you’d fully understand. After a wonderful morning @ Mindspeak @ Westgate, I dashed to Fisherman’s Camp @ Naivasha for the most anticipated event of the month.. i.e. the Rift Valley Festival . It had began on the Friday but being a Saturday means I dint miss much. Quickly picked my tent and bag and off I went by public transport (so counting the days). Wished I could take Chui with me….would have been totally thrilling…
We arrived at the town at about 4pm. The matatu just took an hour and 15 mins to reach Naivasha… (Good or bad, depends on which angle you want to look @ it…) thankfully the Weatherman was wrong, but hey..who believes the Weatherman anyway?? Sadly had to grab another rickety matatu (don’t I hate this contraptions). After leaving the main stage with 14 people and as we trodded towards the destination, the conductor just kept on piling people into the vehicle until at one point I counted 25 passengers..don’t even ask how we all fitted (#onlyinkenya).. sadly on the way I could hear the weatherman laughing at me for it had started to rain lightly. Luckily it only showered for 10 mins. By the time we arrived at the camp-site the it had long stopped.
Finally I arrive and the first thing that had to be done appreciate the silence and change of environment from the concrete and potholed tar jungle. The clean air was quite refreshing especially with the spray of O3 (ozone) from the light rain..almost had an illicit drug effect. Lets not even comment about the view…the lake always is a site for any set of eyes. I could see cars and people streaming in and out of the camp, so clearly there was activity plus from afar I could hear the festival was going on judging from the sound of music and from what I could tell was the crowd cheering
There was lovely bunch at the entrance to welcome all to the grounds. Clearly I was late coz the party seemed to have already started and was already mid-way. So 1st things 1st… clear with groundsmen …Next … Pitch tent… then get sucked into the crowd…. BUT WAIT…did they just say beer is 200/= ?????? Mission Objective altered.. New co-ordinates and instruction: Search 4 the nearest pub and and create a Mini-Bar in tent 2 stock up 4 the LONG night .. This though meant trekking but luckily not far. the kind ladies @ the Cyber café nearby allowed me to charge my phone & iPod 4 a very very small fee..there are still a few good Kenyans out there. Once I gathered the stock I hopped I won’t be thought of as an alcoholic coz the bag was sagging and the bottles were clinking loudly..so to reduce weight I left a few bottles with the nice guys at the gate 2 keep them warm (always be nice 2 people @ the gate).
Once the mini bar was set the next thing was to go through the programme as I mingled with the crowd.. The atmosphere was warming up and with the site of Just A Band, 6AM DJs and other International and Local artists made the mood even more lively. To elaborate clearly Rift Valley Festival’s main aim is to make a real difference to local communities by raising awareness and money to aid environmental improvement and community regeneration in Kenya. All profits from ticket sales and commodities sale such as drinks and paraphernalia will go directly towards supporting grassroots projects. All Artists performing at the festival volunteered to perform at the festival for free and based on the calibre of artists who made themselves available it was really quite encouraging. Plus it involved dancing and drinking for a good cause… I’m up for that anytime..
As dawn fell and people continued flowing in it is was just imminent that it was going to be a terrific night. Performances started getting more and more lively with the sounds of Ample Soundsystem, a local Hip Hop crew I can’t remember their name, Owinyisogoma, Dj Seb (totally respect this DJ) taking the crowd to paces… One thing about DJ Seb…he is the 1st DJ who I have ever heard who has incorporated Benga Music with Trance music..it was just amazing! I was torn without expressions on how to describe the motions from his music. I hope I can get his tracks from somewhere…oh pliz pliz. There’s a Kenyan Afro Jazz band which came to perform and due to reasons I shall not disclose I can not remember their name…all I know they were so good especially the lady vocalists that she had to repeat a song again. Next up was a Tanzanian Reggae band which was really really really good. leave alone the songs were in Swahili and the band instrumentals were awesome..but what made it even more exciting was the lead singer was White! and his Swahili was so fluent I doubt my 8-4-4 system education could comprehend such fluent and flowing grammar and composition. It was basically Shairi with beats! Now the crowd was really up, dancing and pumping..
Next on stage was Just A Band…. if anyone was tired or exhausted they immediately forgot about their condition and rushed to be near the stage… The whole Just A Band crew was there together with the cast members of the video “Ha-He” including the lead character “Makmende”. Cries of “Makmende” from the crowd kept on ringing. Once they settled on stage they at first started without proper sound but in the midst of their performance everything became perfect. But the small interruptions weren’t noticeable for the instrumentals and the crowd singing to the tune kept the atmosphere charged. They performed singles from their last Album “82” which is in a class of its own…for those who haven’t heard it please don’t let me point to you the directions where to get the album.
Next up was 6AM DJ’s….. what can I say about them but that they are just the best DJ crew in Kenya. They specialise in Progressive Trance, House and Dance music and they have produced electric sound and also nurtured an international recognised Kenyan DJ called Jahawi who I have mad respect for, for he was able to break into a market that is difficult to break into and also at such an early age. If you thought Just-A-Band got people up, then I don’t know what to say of what effect 6AM had on the crowd… The
music, the dancing, the glow sticks, the fire-eater …I could go on and on and on… We partied like there was no tomorrow…thankfully I had taken 3 Redbulls prior to this…but I think I had done a mistake coz Redbull is a accelerant and alcohol is a relaxant…didn’t realise the effect till much much later when I found myself trodding to my tent to sleep…and boy did I make
it in time to crash…last thing I remember was making calls, sending MMS’s, twitpics and twitter updates ..and people calling texting and asking why I didn’t tell them about the event…I didn’t know how to answer that one…I still don’t!
Morning comes (or was it afternoon??) and luckily no hangover..just happy thoughts from prior night (please note there are many blank scenes).. Sadly couldn’t stay another night..Nairobi was calling…Darn darn darn… Anyway the Minibar was empty so might as well pack up and leave.
The journey ahead was discouraging…Exhaustion was creeping in. All I knew is I had to sadly pack and leave immediately as a potato sack in the crammed matatus before the weatherman has his day again…then wait till next year! But what a night it was!