Benin’s 229 Urban Music Festival set an example for Africa with its free entry for all ages to enjoy the music of some of the country’s musical talent. Music lovers got together at Fidjrose beach for three electric days from August the 17th to 19th for the highly anticipated event. An all-ages event where attendants could enjoy local and international music, the days proved to be memorable for Benin’s Culture and Music industry. Nigerian superstar Davido opened the festival aided by local acts and was the center of attention. He made the crowd swooning with a romantic performance of his hit track “Assurance”, inviting his girlfriend Chioma on stage, who is known as popular chef in Nigeria. Fellow Nigerian Wizkid had an explosive performance the following day, and even took some time beforehand to be part of a discussion with bloggers and journalists – hosted by the innovation centre Sèmè City – regarding in his journey in the music industry and his endeavours as an entrepreneur. Togolese artist Toofan amazed the fans with a magnificent performance, moving the crowd with his hit ¨Money¨, and brought out Wizkid to conclude the festival. Benin enjoyed the festival with veterans like legendary Beninese soul artist and Unicef Ambassador Zeynab Abib, Dibi Dobo, Afafa, Amir El Presidente, and many more talented artists including new act Fanicko, who has been making noise and leaving his mark in West and Central Africa.
The growing phenomenon of music festivals have been emerging all over the world. With festivals like the world-renowned Coachella in California, USA being known to charge astronomical entrance fees, Benin’s 229 Music Festival’s free attendance was unique. It makes a difference in inspiring the youth, and shows the continent that there is no price to pay for celebrating music and the arts.
By: Yussuf Yanni