How can Uganda Leverage Festivals for Music Tourism?

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”- Plato

The world does have a depth to it with music in the picture, with so many different genres of music in the world; it is a solace for the mind and healing for the heart. There are so many music festivals happening all over the world every day, each festival attracting close to thousands of revellers united by rhythm and melody.

Google defines Music tourism as the act of visiting a city or town, to see a music festival or other music performances. This sort of tourism is particularly important to small villages. Picture a well-promoted festival that is expected to attract thousands of music lovers to one location and how much it would impact our tourism sector. Every year, thousands of people gather in the Coachella valley for one of the largest music festivals in the world, with so many artists performing different genres thrilling revellers from all parts of the world. The same thing happens in Glasgow, Glastonbury and several others all over the world.

These festivals usually generate a huge amount of revenue depending on how good they were promoted or how long they have been happening. According to http://www.ukmusic.org/, direct tourists’ spending at music festivals in the UK in 2015 was over 1.3 billion Euros and attracts over 9.5 billion music tourists from all over the world.

How can Uganda use such festivals to its own advantage in advancing tourism in our country?

In Uganda, there are such festivals that include different genres such as the “Enkuuka Y’omwaka” that is organised by CBS radio, a Luganda speaking radio station under the Buganda kingdom management. The event attracts a lot of revellers from all over the country; it has such a long standing reputation of being entertaining that the crowds sometimes get to be overwhelming for the security.

At some point, those in charge can venture into creating sponsorship packages for some of the upcoming festivals or start one that can incorporate the talent we have in the music industry. We can invite different artists that can pull a crowd from all corners and ensure proper coverage for some of these events.

Music has a strong pull for many people and if festivals are well packaged, they can hugely benefit our economy; the more tourists some of these events attract the more business the hospitality sector receives.

Take an example of the “Nyegnyege” festival that happened in Jinja in 2015 & 2016. It attracted a great number of revellers who camped near the Nile and even after the festival had ended, a few who stayed behind went and explored the region; bungee jumping, water rafting and ziplining in the nearby Mabira forest.

Investing in the arts of our communities also helps build the raw talent that will easily uplift most of the jobless youths in the country.

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