As the festival closes on another sun-drenched Malawian Sunday, festival revellers are winding down after a three day music extravaganza showcasing the best in Malawian and international music.With artists from a record breaking 12 countries, this years Lake of Stars Festival featured the most diverse line-up to date with everything from chart topping international bands to Malawian DJs to Japanese drummers to Rwandan inanga players and absolutely everything in between.
Speaking from Lake Malawi on the final day, festival founder and director Will Jameson said: Beyond the incredible music, what stood out for me was how international the festival felt. We were pleased to once again expose international artists, media and audience to the incredible wealth of talent in Malawi.
This year we have had the most people on site in the festivals history, with 3,000 plus people and over 300 artists in attendance. However its not just about the numbers, what were really proud of is the quality of the line-up and the unique music collaborations forged over the festival.
Friday saw some amazing and eclectic live acts - highlights included a trio of up and coming South African bands who, inspired by being on the same bill as UK powerhouse Foals, took the epic road trip from South Africa to perform. Audiences danced through the night to British DJs Gemma Cairney and Sam Hall aka Goldierocks, along with unique electro-afropop outfit The Very Best featuring Malawis very own Esau Mwamwaya.
Malawian talent took centre stage throughout the festival with spoken word, dance, theatre and the uplifting Amifoto Kung Fu troupe performing on the intimate festival village stage during the day. Malawian legends Black Missionaries and Lucius Banda returned to the main stage this year alongside more than 50 Malawian musicians including Mafilika, Tay Grin and Maskal.
The jam-packed Saturday programme was undoubtedly the highlight of the festival kicking off with one of the UKs finest soul singers Beverley Knight.
Will Jameson said: Part of what makes Lake of Stars so special is the opportunity provided for unique artist collaborations, and seeing Beverley sing with musicians from Malawian band Mafilika was truly spectacular.
Following a lively performance from South African act Freshlyground, the highly anticipated UK live act, Foals, took to the main stage. Taking time out of their busy touring schedule to perform at the festival, their huge, rising anthems hit the waves of Lake Malawi as their made their debut on the continent that has influenced their sound.
Festival Director Tom Porter said that while the focus is always on providing the best three nights of entertainment possible all the action doesnt only take place on stage: We are fortunate to have the engagement and support from the local communities of Chipoka and Mangochi, who participated in many of the activities which took place around the festival.
In Chipoka we hosted football, netball and dance competitions, alongside a health clinic. The artists and media also participated in visits to local projects including the MicroLoan Foundation project which provides specialised microfinance services to 25,000 women in Malawi every year.
Jameson added: The festival was borne from a desire to raise money for a developing economy, promote Malawi as a top travel destination and expose Malawian artists to international crowds, as well as putting on an amazing event that now forms part of the global festival circuit.