Imagine just chilling at home with a mpangoless weekend lurking on the horizon. I was chatting away on Whatsapp when I got an exciting early birthday present. Now, I’m in a number of groups, each representing different agendas, but none have been as engaging and dynamic as the Turnup.Travel group. It was a pleasant surprise when the crew gave me complimentary tickets to the 27th edition of the Koroga Festival at the Two Rivers Mall to celebrate my birthday, the Turnup-way.
An additional perk was that transport was also included, that was however just a tip of the iceberg, there was yet more to come. In my usual last-minute rush to town, I was ceremoniously late but in time to savor the Nairobi matatu culture in its full splendor. This nganya pulls up, horns blaring, with local club bangers literally banging into our eardrums Genge Tone from Kasarani estate rolled onto Moi Avenue; this was our official Koroga ride. After a few photos and selfies here and there, we drove off towards area 107 and onto the Two Rivers Mall.
The festival’s set up was splendid, the glimmering sun’s rays were mildly seeping through the lesos onto the picnic tables and food. Thank goodness for food. Tacos, burgers, fries, beef, chicken, and an endless array of other snacks and drinks were displayed out for sale by a host of food vendors with a smattering of giveaways here and there.
Day one was club bangers’ day, the Koroga crowd was growing by the hour and Dj Joe Mfalme was unleashing one hit after another. It was becoming impossible to just sit down and watch. An old school dancehall hit song was played for a few seconds and everyone was on their feet. Decimators, Zero Sufuri, and Sailors headlined the first day of the Koroga experience, they did not disappoint. Oh, and not to forget the hype men Guddha Man and the Genge crew who hyped up revelers and made me feel like I definitely needed to work out more…maybe. Hit after hit, the headliners gave their most electrifying performances and left us begging for more. By 10.00 pm, the venue was emptying out to various after-party joints.
Ours was by far the most enviable ride at the festival. Genge Tone turned up-beats on wheels and suddenly the entire parking lot lit up with wabebe lyrics. It was a sight for sore eyes. We boarded our Nganya and drove back into town to Club Edge on Moi Avenue for the Sailors after-party appearance. The group showed up in celebrity fashion, gave yet another engaging performance and mingled freely with clubbers. I made sure to stick around for awhile longer before clocking out and hitting the sack at three in the morning. Koroga day two was fast approaching. I slept for what seemed like an hour, but I couldn’t be late again. Well, I was. Nothing could have prepared me for this day.
Day two was designed for fun, and a lot of reminiscing, a journey down memory lane through some of the industry’s greatest hits and musicians. Food was in plenty, as usual, local designers and creators laid out their wares for potential customers and enthusiasts to purchase or view. This was the epitome, the finale, the saving-the-best-for-last kind of experience. Wyre, Redsan, and Alpha Blondy were set to take the stage and rock the throng of the Korogeans, leaving them with an experience to last a lifetime. Business mogul Chris Kirubi, Mombasa Governor, Hassan Joho, Comedian legend, Churchill among other celebrities and politicians graced the event.
Wyre and Redsan took me back to my school days, I’m surprised that I could still remember the lyrics to ‘Tetemesha‘, ‘Julie’, ‘Chuki’, and ‘Kenyan boy/girl’. And they both looked as fresh as they did back in the day yani…anyway, of importance is life. Redsan briefly invited Timmy T-Dat to perform their hit single, ‘Atekwe’. The way the Turnup.Travel squad was jamming to all these songs, it’s like we were present during their dance choreography. Let’s just say that the young and the old alike were kept on their feet.
Alpha Blondy was the last performance of the festival, and he was spectacular. Backed up by The Solar System band, the legendary Reggae star famed for his hit ‘Brigadier Sabari’, a song that would become a symbol of resistance, did a solid two-hour performance with a couple of stops in between his set to talk about love for one another and peace, as well as to celebrate the birthdays of three members of his crew.
Similar to day one, the show was over before we knew it…time sure does fly when you are having fun. I just wanted the music to keep playing tena na tena na tena…sob sob. Genge Tone like clockwork was dutifully at the parking lot again to ferry us off to town, for the ‘it’s been real’ kind of people and one last hurray…for the less tired. I was the former. Two days of fun and a Turnup.Travel experience was a great start for me. I was clearly underprepared for this birthday Turn up. Next time, I’m coming with badness…if you know, you know.