Blankets and Wine has always been a trail blazer when it comes to music festivals. From its humble beginnings in 2008, the festival has grown to become on of the biggest festivals in East Africa and has delivered on its promise time after time to bring you the best quality music locally, regionally and globally.
The theme this edition is ‘Made in KE’ and will have a curated stand where local artists will showcase their fashion and accessory designs at unbeatable prices. The stands will also provide an array of delicious local dishes.
The artist line up is all about musicians who break barriers and think out of the box in terms of their choices of artistic expression.
To whet your appetite and get you amped up, here is a list of the artists who will be entertaining you at the festival.
South African hip hop artist A.K.A is no new name in the music scene. Since his debut album, Altar Ego in 2011, he has constantly brought us hit after hit and represented his home country and his continent on the world stage at the BET Awards Ceremony in the US and became the first South African artist to appear on 106&Park which is an American music show. His single, All Eyez On Me was certified platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and his other singles, Baddest and Run Jozi were certified gold. His debut album, Altar Ego, earned him the moniker, Prince of South African Hip Hop when he bagged three Metro FM Awards. It was also certified gold when it sold 20,000 copies locally as of 2015 and later on it was bumped to platinum status in 2016.
He is a multi-award winning artist and some of the titles under his belt include, The Channel O Music Awards for most gifted Hiphop video, MTV Africa Music Awards and AFRIMMA Award. He was nominated for the BET Awards in 2016 for best international act and was named in BBC 1Xtra’s list of Hot artists for 2016 among other international artists such as Chance The Rapper and The Weeknd.
His chooses to rap in English, saying that if he intends to make an impact on the global stage, then he must use an international language which is English.
In 2016, he took a stand to no longer open for international hip hop acts citing mistreatment of local artists during the shows as organizers were overtly biased towards American rappers. He felt that local supporting acts were treated as lesser artists. He also went on to demand the same superstar status that the American acts received and even declined to appear at a local music festival when his demands weren’t met, much to the chagrin of fellow South Africans on Twitter.
Previously, he had opened for various international rappers such as Kanye West, Snoop Lion, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and 2Chainz during the South African legs of their world tours.
A.K.A has been known to be vocal on Twitter and always keen to speak his mind. This aspect has led to him being compared to Kanye West, a comparison that he embraces. Like his US counterpart, his videos usually take on an artsy feel. He, however, maintains that he is an individual but does not deny that his music is influenced by the western styles.
He uses his music and social media platforms to open up South Africa to the world. He is passionate about dispelling the misconception about South Africa and expanding the limited perception of his country that is portrayed to the world by Western media. This is highlighted in an interview he did with okay Africa last year.
Other artists that will be at the festival include:
Nneka who is a Nigerian hip hop, reggae and soul artist. She has been lauded as the next Lauryn Hill on account of her politically charged lyrics and the retro feel of her music. Her songs highlight various issues in social justice and the diaspora experiences of Africans.
Nu Nairobi is a collective of musical vanguards. They pride themselves in forming styles that are unique and true to them as individuals. They provide alternative music that goes against the tried and tested genres of kapuka and genge. Instead, they experiment with sounds and have often come up with new sub-genres such as Swahili Bass and Bengal Rock.
DJ Suraj is well known for his revolutionary fusion of electronic beats over ethnic and tribal sounds. His collaboration with Riot Stereo brought to you the remix of Abiro, a song by Kato Change which you can listen to here. You can also sample more of his music on https://dhulkamusic.com/.
Fena Gitu has become a household name with the release of her recent songs, Sema Ngw’e and Kama Kawaida in collaboration with Mayonde, Muthoni Drummer Queen and Kagwe Mungai. The Fenamenal woman is known for her fusion of reggae, hip hop, afro and neo soul. She is also known for her androgynous fashion style which also sets her apart from other local artists.
It’s not only going to be a musical affair. A notable addition this year is the reimagined concept of play. The team has expanded the parent and child activities in order to provide an inclusive and wholesome family experience.
Early bird tickets will sell for Kshs 2000, advance tickets for Kshs 3000 and at the gate, they will go for Kshs 3500. Those wishing to purchase season tickets to attend all the editions at the end of each quarter can do so at the special price of Kshs 5980.
Blankets and Wine is not an experience that you want to miss. It is ideal for everyone and will run from afternoon to night for those who wish to extend the party. So bring your friends and family, a shuka, picnic basket, a bottle or two of wine and settle down as you jam to enchanting live performances from incredible African artists, mingle with fellow art and music enthusiasts in a wholesome afternoon that will most definitely be well spent.