High Vibes Festival thrills
The first edition of the High Vibes Festival took off at the Holy Gardens in Accra on Thursday. The four-day event is designed to uplift the ‘falling’ image of Ghanaian highlife music and live band performances.
The event venue, the Holy Gardens had a large number of people, particularly the youth, thronging there to enjoy some good-old-days music.
The artistes who performed to kick-start the four-day event included; Ramblers International Band, King Ayisoba, Takashi, Gyadu Blay Amboley and Saintrick from Congo/Senegal.The music festival will witness exciting performances from other renowned musicians like Kwabena Kwabena, Amandzeba, K.K. Fosu, Agorsor, with international acts like; Saintrick (Congo, Senegal), Kamaldine (Guinea), Gangbe Brass Band (Benin), Seun Kuti (Nigeria) and Miatta Fahnbuleh (Liberia) also performing.
Valerie Lesbros, Cultural Affairs and Higher Education Attache at the French Embassy and the main brain behind the High Vibes Festival, in an interview with Myjoyonline.com said the event was designed to light up a very bustling city like Accra which is very famous for its music but does not have a major event to showcase it.
“We at the French Embassy develop a lot of cultural projects and what was striking to us was that, Accra as a very big city and very vibrant in terms of arts and culture, does not have a big event which is an annual event like a festival that the city is identified with…. So we thought it will be nice to import that same momentum into Accra. The music in Ghana is so obvious because the highlife tradition is so strong.”
She said they want the event to be an annual festival and they would use it to build capacity for the music community in Ghana, “…we hope to build capacity alongside the festival and also putting up technical training…We have two experts from France who are helping the crew with sound and [lighting]…”
Valerie said the choice of highlife as the main base for the festival was due to the fact that Ghana is still very synonymous with highlife, which she is a fan of.“The festival itself is called High Vibes and we thought highlife as a good starting point…Although it is old, it is still appealing to people,” she said.
Panji Anoff, the events co-ordinator also told Myjoyonline.com that, the High Vibes is aimed at reviving highlife music, live band music and African unity and integration.“This festival is about music and musicianship. It will focus on live performances and the theme of the festival is High Vibes, so that means artistes and music that can lift our spirit,” he said.He blamed poor management, planning and economics as factors that contributed to the fall of stage craft music in Ghana.
“One thing we have in common across the West African sub-region is music. Part of the essence of this festival is for Ghanaians to know that we are one and high life is a unifying factor across the sub-region. After four days of High Vibes Festival, Ghanaians and West Africa will be more united because regional integration can be achieve in a number of ways. It can be achieved politically, economically and artistically.”
Music fans will witness live band performances at the Holy Gardens, Circle, the National Theatre and a climax of the festival at the La Pleasure Beach on Sunday.