There was an attendance record last weekend at the 25th Africa Oyé Festival which attracted over 80,000 people to Sefton Park in Liverpool, UK.
The ever-diverse Oyé crowd flocked from across the country and beyond to witness performances from some of the finest returning artists the festival has welcomed over its 25-year history as well as specially invited guest and Sunday headliner, Max Romeo. From Mokoomba, Jupiter & Okwess International, Odemba OK Allstars to local acts like Nutribe & Butcha B and Anwar Ali & Dave Owen, the UK’s largest free celebration of African and Caribbean music showcased international artists from 12 countries onto its main stage in addition to a range of local acts across the field hosting workshops, DJ sets and dance battles.
In his closing speech, Artistic Director, Paul Duhaney said “We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend for our 25th anniversary. The acts, the weather and an incredible audience – I don’t think we’ve had a festival quite like it across both days. We’re blessed in Liverpool that our founder Kenny Murray chose here to live and bring Oyé to life after travelling across Africa and being inspired by the music and culture of the continent. And Oyé is blessed that a city like Liverpool exists – a city where a festival showcasing artists that a lot of the audience will be hearing for the first time, yet embraces them like old friends. The people have turned our little festival into something really quite special.”
The Oyé Village was busier than ever in 2017 with more traders and stalls, two bar and DJ areas in the shape of Trenchtown and the brand new Freetown, as well as the Afrobeats Zone which continues to grow in popularity with the younger festival-goers. There were music workshops hosted by Liverpool’s own Movema.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council and all our other supporters, sponsors and partners” Duhaney continued. “Their generosity and belief in what we do allows us to put on the best festival possible and carry on our work throughout the year with our school workshops and tours. And to everyone who donated money in our collection buckets or bought some Oyé merchandise this weekend, or just helped spread the word about what we do – I can’t thank you all enough. Here’s to another 25 years.”
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