I recently (when I was writing this post it was a weekend ago) got to attend the recent Koroga Festival, having missed out on the previous edition featuring Oliver Mtukudzi I really did not want to miss this edition.
The headliner was Micasa who I had last watched during the last Blankets and Wine Festival. The other acts were Webi and Suzanna Owiyo.
I got there with my friends at 2 pm hoping to get a seat but there wasn’t any. Tip- if you want to get a seat 1pm is probably a safe bet. Fortunately I had decided last minute to carry a leso so I just spread that on the ground and sat on it.
There is no food or drink allowed from outside on the premises. They will however make an exception if you are carrying food for your child. There are food vendors all around, mainly selling roasted meat so if you are a fan then you’re in luck. There is also a Koroga (cooking) section where you can make your own food.
I decided to buy food at the Big Square tent. I had just paid for my food and I was waiting for my friend when I had an explosion behind me. I turned to look and one of the ladies working at a food stand was on fire. Fortunately it was only on her lower half and people around her were quick to act. One of the guys quickly got her to the ground and smothered the flames. The Red Cross ambulance got to the scene in about 5 minutes.
The incident had me a bit shaken and had me questioning why there had not been a fire extinguisher at the tent. One was brought at the same time as the ambulance showed up but of course this was far too late for it to be of any use. After this incident it would be prudent for the organizers to ensure that all the food vendors have fire extinguishers.
Webi was first on stage. Earlier this year he emerged as the winner in the Airtel Trace Music Stars competition. My feelings are that it should have gone to someone else less established/undiscovered; Webi has been doing music for the last 12 years and if that is not established then I don’t know what is. Hopefully he’ll make the most of it, I haven’t really heard much from/of him since his win.
In his words his style of music is for the most part RnB and soul gospel. I didn’t enjoy his performance; his style of music just isn’t for me.
Next up on stage was Suzanna. Her music is a fusion of traditional western Kenyan Music with traditional African instruments, and contemporary rhythms. I couldn’t understand a word she was singing but I enjoyed every single minute of her performance.
At some point she had members of the crowd up on stage with her getting down to the music. This definitely got the crowd going. At the end of her performance everyone was waiting for her to perform the hit she is most popular for, Kisumu 100. By this time everyone was on their feet.
Suzanna’s band was fantastic, she was backed by the lovely Ythera whose music you must check out. One couldn’t help but feel the energy of the drummer Kasiva Mutua who everyone seemed to love. She got the loudest cheer when all the band members were introduced.
Last on the stage was Mi Casa. The band consists of 3 members, Mo t- Mi Casa’s trumpeter, J’Something- lead singer and Mr. Duda the music producer and keyboardist
They were backed by Kabelo Seleke, saxophonist and dancer extraordinaire and Carlo Jooste the bassist.
Mi Casa rocked the stage. It was so crowded that it was too much of a hassle for me to move from my spot to go near the stage take pictures, the best I could do was stand on a bale of hay to get a better view of the stage.
J’Something had the ladies screaming with his dance moves, he is act down to a T. Mi Casa stopped midway through their performance to speak about their new album, Home Sweet Home set for release later this year and a collaboration they have done with Sauti Sol. They brought Sauti Sol up on stage and naturally I was expecting them to perform together but they didn’t. That was rather disappointing; they shouldn’t have gotten our spirits up.
They performed their hit song Jika and that got the crowd dancing, at the very end everyone in the band got a chance to perform solo.
They closed their act by taking a selfie with the crowd.
Traffic getting out was hell as usual, its best to leave before the last act wraps up or just stay and wait out the traffic, The road into and out of the grounds is very narrow and all most drivers care about is getting their own way. I was taking a cab home so me and my friends just walked to the main road where we got our ride.
What did I love? The performances, I’d have been content to leave right after Suzanna’s. What I hated was that it was so crowded. To make matters worse there was a family behind me who had brought their whole house minus the stove. They’d shown up with kids and dog in tow. The dog would bark from time to time and one of their kids kept stepping on me and my friend. It was annoying to say the least.
I do wish they would start holding Koroga in a bigger venue. The earlier editions it was fine because the crowds weren’t as large but as the festival grows bigger they should consider a different venue.
Another thing that I found annoying was that in between the performances the MC’s would come on stage and introduce the next act. I understand that the sponsors need to be mentioned but it just seemed like overkill to go through the whole list every single time there was a break. I could pretty much recite the sponsors by the end of the show. Also the screens on the sides kept running ads for the sponsors and it would have made much more sense for them to be showing the performances.
Another thing that had me peeved was that one of the MCs kept shouting into the microphone. The most annoying but was when the CEO of the company hosting the festival got on stage with the main act. I’d have thought he had better things to do with his life.
I didn’t mean to end the post on a rant but it just wouldn’t have felt complete without one. Also I know the photos aren’t the best, I only had my phone to work with.
Ticket prices. Advance 1500 ($14).
At the gate. 2000 ($18)
Children below 12 get in for free