WPGM Commentary: Afro Nation Festival – An Unforgettable Celebration Of African Culture

It was a long time coming but finally the time came! What started as word of mouth became a huge musical success and I am sure that those that did not get to attend were sad they did not get to experience the never-ending vibes that were at the 2019 Afro Nation Festival, which took place in Praia Da Rocha Beach located in Portimao, Portugal this year.

The first one ever of its kind, this urban beach festival made history by creating a positive environment for young ethnic minorities to gather together and enjoy their favourite songs from various afro beat, Caribbean and UK artists.

With performances from the biggest names in Hip Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall and R&B music, such as Wizkid, Davido, Buju Banton, Burna Boy, Femi Kuti, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage Busy Signal, J Hus, Sonna, Stefflon Don, Mostack and Ms Banks just to name a few, the 2019 Afro Nation Festival turned out to be a life experience that those that attended will never forget.

From August 1-4, Afro Nation was the place to be. Four days of 31 degrees heat, never ending cocktails and top-notch music from top afrobeats, Hip Hop, R&B, Dancehall & bashment artists. With morning and evening performances, this was indeed the first ever music concert celebrating not only African culture but also black culture, connecting the African diaspora.

It provided a platform for musical artists to come together and give something back to the fans that will forever be treasured. With sets from some of the UK’s most sought-after DJs such as DJ Semtex, Snoochie Shy, DJ Edott, Mercedes Benson, Tim Westwood, P Montana and Charlie Sloth, we were given bashment, grime, afrobeats, Hip Hop, R&B, house and garage.

Party goers at the Afro Nation Festival could also attend private beach parties, after parties and boat parties, which completely sold out within a few weeks of tickets being on sale.

Now you may wonder who the mastermind behind all this greatness was. Adesegun Adeosun Jr, known as SMADE is a 34-year old Nigerian promoter from Dagenham. With knowledge and expertise in advertising and marketing after studying at the University of the Arts, SMADE had a vision to create an unforgettable experience that would “celebrate love, peace, unity and the beauty of African culture”.

With many festivals going wrong and the negative views towards newly formed music festivals such as the likes of FYRE Festival, the pressure was there to make sure that this one could be pulled off without any glitches. He, however, thought it was worth the risk. He says in a recent interview with the BBC that the festival was important “not only for black people but for other races to come down and celebrate African culture coming together”.

For SMADE, this was an opportunity to break the current stereotypes of young black individuals that are seen as not able to come together in one place without any incidents. “We are Muslim, so I fasted for three days and prayed with a team of about 55 people. I wanted it to go smoothly and it worked”. And indeed, it did.

SMADE has come a long way from hosting house parties all while working part time, to taking his passion for promoting to bigger stages which did not all come together in one day. While slowly making contacts with established Afrobeats artists and well know people in the niche market, he began to establish a network of people that would contribute to his massive success in placing Afrobeats on the map and not just in the UK clubs.

Feedback from the festival was nothing but positive. With many party goers describing their time as ‘amazing’, ‘exceeded expectations’ and ‘the best time of our lives’. It did not fall short of what it was offering to deliver. Those that missed out can have a second chance to attend and experience the vibes as the next Afro Nation has already been announced to take place in Accra, Ghana from December 27-30 of this year. Get your tickets now at www.afronationghana.com.

Words by Feliciana Lumona

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