We Are One Summer Beach Fest, an annual beach musical extravaganza, is back. This year marks six uninterrupted years of the event that takes place in the lakeside town of Rubavu, in Western Province.
It is organised by local DJ Africano (real name John Ndizihiwe) through his label, Africanomania Ltd, an Events and Artist Management company. In an interview with The New Times, DJ Africano revealed September 8 as the date for this year’s event.
Every year since its inception, the event has combined local and regional artistes and DJs on its entertainment lineup, and this year is no exception.
Ugandan new Dancehall kid on the block, Fik Fameica, is set to headline this year’s Beach Fest. This will be spiced up by entertainment from DJs: Africano (event founder and curator), Marnaud, Pyfo, and DJ Shamy Shift from Gisenyi.
“Our aim is to constantly have an African artiste as guest performer, and this year will be headlined by the current most selling Dancehall artiste in Uganda, Fik Fameica, with hit songs like Property and Sconto. We are always enthusiastic to include Rwandan talents and this year we have Bruce Melodie, winner of PGGSS 2018 competition, among many others,” Africano said.
The first edition in 2013 took place at the Tam Tam Beach in Rubavu, and was headlined by Ugandan Dancehall singer AK 47, who passed away two years later in 2015. Ugandan singers Micheal Ross and Sheebah Karungi headlined the 2017 and 2016 editions, respectively.
In 2017, the Beach Fest kicked off with a tour in Musanze District in Northern Province, followed by an excursion to Akeza Island in Rubavu, before festival goers headed to the Lake Kivu Serena Beach for the final showdown. In total, it took three days as opposed to one.
However, the inaugural edition started on a wrong footing, as the police shut down the event prematurely for noise pollution. Organisers were forced to relocate the party to a small venue nearby but the damage had been done.
Subsequent editions have however been incident-free, thanks to mutual understanding between organisers and the police that has seen the Beach Fest evolve into a night-long event.
DJ Africano organised the first We Are One Summer Beach Fest in 2013, shortly after his return from South Africa where he had relocated from Rwanda in 2002. That same year, he created Africanomania Ltd, the company through which he organises the event. He chose Rubavu, by the beach, where he used to swim as a child growing up in the town.
He attributes the event’s success and longevity to brand and institutional support, with brands like RwandAir providing flight tickets to foreign performers, while Rwanda Development Board will be providing the Tembera u’Rwanda tour bus to ferry festival goers from Kigali to Rubavu, among other logistics. He also commended the police for permitting the event to go on all night long.
Africano started DJ-ing as a high school student at Groupe Scolaire de Nyundo in Rubavu and, after completing his tertiary education at the then KIST, moved to South Africa.
He started playing music professionally in 2005, in South Africa.