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What does it take to be a Digital and Community Manager for East Africa’s biggest music and arts festival?

We are all masters of our experience so today I will be sharing my experience and learnings from my time as the Nyege Nyege International Music and Arts Festival’s Digital Communications and Community Manager from 2018-2019.


I was privileged to take on this role due to my relationships with the festival founders, Derek and Arlene. I was also the digital manager of Talent Africa at the time and I had proven my ability to take on the role.

Lesson: Opportunity & Positioning

Photo: Kenyan Lense

Digital and Community Managers are the hand that guides the quill and often influence the narrative and tone of posts from community members.

During my time, I came to appreciate that the following skills are essential to being a digital campaign and/or community manager for a festival;

  1. Creative writing and editing
  2. Interpersonal skills
  3. Being tech savvy
  4. Diplomacy
  5. An eye for detail



The community is made up of policy makers, the partners and sponsors, the suppliers and vendors, the entertainers, influencers and party goers and lastly the general public.

Not the usual audience right? Now you know.


The community is diverse.

Whereas a festival might have brand equity, you shouldn’t strain it lest your community members become your opposers.

Utilize a mix of gender-sensitive & inclusive messages & approaches to mitigate opposition



As a community manager, managing expectations is key to communications.

Mitigate any perceived or actual negative experiences with a thread on need to knows about the venue, accommodation, meals, transport to mention but a few. An informed festival goer will come in handy in disseminating information.



Here is a simple formula I used to push content that I coined as “EAST”.

  • Easy – Your content should be easy to read or watch and accessible. Tone is important here.
  • Attractive – Aesthetics are everything because festival goers need visual stimulation.
  • Social – A persona festival goers can connect with is important. Always have a protagonist.
  • Timely – Be responsive and fast with delivery of content. The window of relevance is brief.



A community manager is a bridge between the audience and the entertainers, the influencer and the content creator, the vendor and the festival goers, media and the next impact story.

Be present and know which partnerships can amplify narratives. I personally used geo-location and tags to discover who was at the festival.



A lot “happens” at festivals so encourage festival goers to visit hydration points, first aid centers and meet up points if anyone loses their way during the festival.

Encourage inquiries and check the DM often. You just might avert a crisis.



People come to festivals to connect, recreate old memories, create new memories, experience new things TOGETHER.

Your communication should make the lone traveller feel like they won’t be alone and make the community whole.


Don’t sell just the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO!) sell the EXPERIENCE.

A festival is not all FOMO and that narrative fizzles out quick. Most amplifiers (influencers) go with this lazy approach.

Single out intimate moments both in the day and night that showcase a space for every mood.



Vending at a festivals is a risky venture due to a number of factors. As a community manager, you should make an effort to spotlight your vendors and send foot traffic their way. A video drop, boomerang etc.. – something yummy or fun.



Festivals are a fashion affair! Yes dress code does matter but not in the way you think!

As a community manager, working with fashion influencers and writers can help communicate different attires for difference audiences. Confidence is the goal.



Lastly all this was made possible by working with a team of 10 photographers, influencers, agencies of sponsors and partners, the media and the support of the Nyege Nyege founders Derek and Arlene who believed in me & gave me full autonomy.

A special shout to my fellow storytellers, Nimusiima Edwards, Bernard Olupot (Beewol) and any other storytellers that walked the hallowed grounds upon which East Africa’s mecca of festivals lay. We celebrate the tales of euphoria that they wove inspired by the ebullience of the thousands of revellers from around the globe, that flocked to the Nyege Nyege International Music and Arts Festival.

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Written by Atwine Paul (0)

Hi! Paul Atwine Babigumira is my name. I am a digital communications and community management consultant.

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