A week has passed and people are still speaking highly of Afronation. You do not need to know much more about the festival than that to know that it went well. As the nostalgia kicks in, eyes and heads turn to the next instalment of the festival chain, taking place in Ghana later this year. Plans are made for the 2020 Portugal instalment, content continues to be dropped and people both within and outside of our communities ruminate over the cultural significance of just what happened in Portugal last weekend.
I wrote about Fyre Festival for GUAP earlier this year and how precarious ‘hype’ can be in our current social media climate. Afronation Portugal 2019, despite premature comparisons to Fyre Festival being made, rebuked all parallels and showed us how to ‘hack’ social media and still get things right. It set a new standard for social media campaigns. With 22,000 tickets sold and very few issues, the event was an overwhelming success -, particularly for a first attempt.
Dreams were quite literally made, ‘prophecies‘ shattered, people presented themselves beautifully and no stone was left unturned. By an organising team whose watertight contracts and social capital somehow even managed to ensure that Davido arrived no less than 10 minutes late for his set. Even sound difficulties and ever-problematic shout-outs during Tim Westwood’s set didn’t dampen people’s spirits and overall enjoyment of the festival. There was something for everyone and people were able to live whatever version of Afronation they wanted to live. It served as a reminder that when Black people have something to prove, they deliver.
It was a festival that reiterated just how quickly the Afrobeats music scene is growing and how influential the ‘culture’ has become. Sitting within an ever rapidly growing industry currently worth $34bn globally, Afronation has certainly earned its right to a seat at the table and to play its part in helping to shape global perceptions of Afrobeats within that industry, as many of its team members have been doing individually for years.
Smade, Mr Obi Asaka and co certainly have a lot to be proud of.