It is a few minutes past midnight on a chilly Monday morning in Nairobi and I am sipping my Nescafe mocha, piecing my first time experience last night at Blankets and Wine—yes this review you are now reading.
Though festivals are held year-round in this great city, Blankets and Wine is considered most legit—thanks for their concept of bringing international Grammy Award acts to Nairobi for an experience.
Growing up (then Blankets charged 1000 bob entrance fee), I always looked forward to reading the dailies’ reviews and see the pictures of this festival. Those who attended and lived to write about it, spoke of it as though it contained a higher concentration of some magical ingredient than other festivals do.
“Blankets and Wine,” the guys helping us ferry equipment from the office on this Sunday morning tell me, eyebrows raised. “There is some real music there!”
The team here at What’s Good Studios is setting up a pop-up tent, with live podcast and video recordings. And I am excited being a part of their first on-site event live recordings.
But this is not the only history happening today. Blankets and Wine is launching a surprise addition to the festival experience. Yes, a Blankets and Wine special wine. Secondly, they are streaming on both ends of Kampala and Nairobi, the events simultaneously on the ground—an East Africa shared experience.
Our screens light up with live feed of the Blankets and Wine experience in Kampala. Holding the distinction of uniting local and international Grammy Award acts, Blankets and Wine remains real of the realest. Mi Casa is rocking Kampala, and British girl, Estelle is backstage in Nairobi roaring to go.
The food tents and trucks encircle the crowd with a central fashion pop-up stage by Nivea. My Snapchat feels very far away now; I have stopped checking my phone. Away social media! Time for the real experience.
This is the experience! A block away, the silent disco ‘riots quietly’, with party goers on headphones jamming.
I am here for something I have read and envisioned, but not yet seen. The venue has fast transformed into a sea of different cultures, races and tribe—united by the purity of music.
The homegrown talents open the stage, and they own it, performing explosive stacked sets before the main act. Estelle takes the stage a few minutes past 6.30pm.
And I can’t shake the feeling.
My Five for the day:
- The What’s Good Studios pop-up tent
- The Wolfpack East Africa transforming container bar
- Sage’s performance.
- The people were adorable.
- The after party was lit!