The inaugural Nairobi Street Festival kicked off on Monday, December 12, 2022, at the renovated Uhuru Park in Nairobi Central Business District (CBD).
Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja officially launched the six-day Nairobi Festival on Monday.
Sakaja showcased his rapping skills during the launch, reminiscent of his earlier rap career over 15 years ago when he was a member of the Mission Driven gospel rap group with NTV news anchor Dann Mwangi.
The Nairobi governor said the inaugural festival will provide an opportunity for Kenyans to appreciate the city’s diverse food, culture, music, and art.
Several musicians including King Kaka, Juacali, H_eart The Band among others are set to perform at the six-day event.
At least 50 Nairobi-based artistes lined up to grace the festival. Radio personality Shaffie Weru, who is the lead organiser of the Nairobi festival, said there will also be at least 35 DJs.
“We have three main stages, while other sporting activities will be happening at Central Park. We have over 50 signed artistes who will be on stage across the week. Our main acts will be on stage from Friday, December 16 and also on Saturday.
“We have over 35 DJs, from the city. We have given priority to the people from Nairobi city only, if you spot an artiste and you think they are from a different county it is because they move, and they have relocated in Nairobi,” Shaffie said.
Nairobi Festival invited talent aspirants to submit virtual auditions from November 28, 2022, through December 4, 2022. Shortlisted candidates are the ones who are performing live during the event.
The grand finale will take place on December 16 2022, where the winners will be awarded.
All talent entries, including those from singers, dancers, acrobats, fashion designers, models of all sizes, photographers, and other performers, were given chance to participate.
Tickets for Nairobi Festival are going for Ksh100 per adult and Ksh50 for children, with the proceeds going towards supporting the vulnerable in Nairobi.
Shaffie said that a lot had been put in place to attract both local and international fans.
“We assure you this is a first and we expect a lot to happen, we expect big numbers. I can tell everyone in Nairobi to come and enjoy. It is going to be what you see in other big concerts brought to you by the county for absolutely nothing," He said.
Kenyans have been trooping to Uhuru Park since Monday when Nairobi Festival was officially launched.
The Nairobi Street Festival is aimed at empowering young talents and for economic growth in the city.
The event objective is to celebrate Nairobi as a creative hub while at the same time identifying and developing local talent.
Sakaja said the event is a chance for the young people, and that their showing their abilities will aid in their economic development and empowerment.
“We have been able to do this because of the amazing potential the creative economy has. When we were campaigning, we spoke about the city of order, dignity, hope and opportunities and this is part of the opportunities we want to showcase and provide for our young people,” he said.
“We have a huge creative economy and more than 100 artists came for auditions of the upcoming artists also. We are going to showcase more than 16 films and documentaries short by our young people in Nairobi, the traders will also come and show what they have and we have a whole bunch of activities that will happen in Uhuru Park," Sakaja said.
Ride-hailing company Uber announced a 30 per cent discount on trips to and from the inaugural Nairobi Festival at the renovated Uhuru Park from December 12 to 17.
Uber set up dedicated drop-off and pick-up zones in specific areas at Uhuru Park specifically for the six-day event.
"The festival is a celebration of all things that make up Nairobi culture and we're so proud to be a part of this vibrant and exciting event. Uber will focus on providing a stress-free mobility experience, ensuring Nairobians can connect with what they love most about Nairobi," Imran Manji, Head of East Africa for Uber said on Friday December 9, 2022.
Nairobi Festival is going on at Uhuru and Central Parks which had been closed since November 2021 when renovations were made by the now defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS)
Members of Parliament (MPs) had allocated Ksh1 billion for the renovations.
NMS renovated Uhuru and Central parks into a world-class modern look for recreational purposes.
People were treated to entertainment as they walked around the park.