By Evelyn Masaba
Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, once said that, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
True to this saying, the world does have a depth to it with music in the picture. With so many different genres of music in the world, it is a solace for the mind and healing for the heart.
There are so many music festivals happening all over the world every day, each festival attracting close to thousands of revellers united by rhythm and melody.
The Internet defines music tourism as the act of visiting a city or town to see a music festival or other music performances. This sort of tourism is particularly important to small villages.
Picture a well promoted festival that is expected to attract thousands of music lovers to one location and how much it would impact our tourism sector.
Every year, thousands of people gather in the Coachella Valley for one of the largest music festivals in the world, with so many artists performing different genres and thrilling revellers from all parts of the world. The same thing happens in Glasgow, Glastonbury, and several others all over the world.
These festivals usually generate a huge amounts of revenue, depending on how good they were promoted or how long they have been happening.
According to http://www.ukmusic.org/, direct tourists’ spending at music festivals in the UK in 2015 was over 1.3 billion Euros and the festivals attract over 9.5 billion music tourists from all over the world.
How can Uganda use such festivals to its own advantage in advancing tourism in our country?
In Uganda, there are such festivals that include different genres such as the “Enkuuka Y’omwaka” that is organised by CBS radio, a Luganda radio station under the Buganda Kingdom management. The event attracts a lot of revellers from all over the country; it has such a long standing reputation of being entertaining that the crowds sometimes get to be overwhelming for the security.
At some point, those in charge can venture into creating sponsorship packages for some of the upcoming festivals or start one that can incorporate the talent we have in the music industry. We can invite different artists that can pull crowds from all corners and ensure proper coverage for some of these events.
Music has a strong pull for many people and if festivals are well-packaged, they can hugely benefit our economy. The more tourists some of these events attract, the more business the hospitality sector receives.
Take an example of the “Nyege Nyege” festival that happened in Jinja in 2015. It attracted a great number of revellers who camped near the Nile and even after the festival had ended, a few who stayed behind went and explored the region — bungee jumping, water rafting and ziplining in the nearby Mabira forest.