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Wow! Wow! Wow!
I do not believe I have expressed this many “wows” in a day as I did at the Chale Wote Street Art festival on Saturday, August 20th. This festival was created and organized by ACCRA DOT ALT, a cultural network group in Accra.
I love festivals and have attended dozens from all over the world. The most memorable festivals I participated in were the Holi festival of Colors in India, two carnivals in Brazil, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Love Festival in California.
But, I am declaring the Chale Wote Street Arts festival 2016 in Accra as my best festival experience ever.
My declaration may have something to do with my Ghanaian roots. It may have something to do with the fact that I identify strongly with the “Spirit Robot” theme of this year’s festival. Maybe it has something to do with the sound of Ghanaian music at the festival, the smell of Ghanaian food, hearing the Ghanaian language in every space and corner, the wonderful African-inspired art, and the energetic atmosphere itself.
The setting was bold, the artwork was awe-inspiring, the environment was colorful, and the people were energetic and engaged.
This year’s Chale Wote Street Art festival is the fifth event but this was my first time participating. This year’s festival was dubbed “Spirit Robot,” a fitting representing for the euphoria I experienced on Saturday. The “Spirit Robot” theme is a powerful vehicle used to get festival participants to shift their passion and energy for the arts and culture towards a united front. A united front, which will help foster meaningful change and create a livable world for all.
Earlier in the week, I visited the Brazil house in Jamestown to get a press pass. I met and spoke to Mantse Aryeequaye, one of the co-founders of the festival. He was gracious enough to devote some time to meet with me and discuss my work and the festival. It was a certainly a pleasure to meet and talk to the mastermind behind this colorful festival – a festival, which brings together artists, crafts men and women, creative geniuses, designers and musicians from all over the word.
While I was at the festival, I kept thinking about the one or two moments or experiences that will capture the essence of the Chale Wote Street Art festival. I quickly came to the realization that it’s not easy to single out that one moment. Almost everything I witnessed and experienced represented the festival in a unique way.
Around me were thousands of art lovers, tourists, foreigners, students, old and young people moving around James town. A historic and imposing lighthouse rose above the crowd. Insane spray can graffiti paintings lined the streets and the roads. There was a beautiful display of cultural artifacts, clothing, traditional food and drinks.
The energy I felt from the crowd was intense. Everywhere I looked, everyone was laughing, smiling, joking, hugging and just having fun. The spirit robot was alive and visible in this crowd.
At one point, I stood surrounded by hundreds singing along to “baby chop kiss” by Shata Wale. Hundreds or more other smiling faces, singing along to other highlife and hiplife songs churned by the various DJs on the scene.
The 2016 Chale Wote festival was a historic and beautiful moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The entire weekend was filled with breathtaking moments. Anyone who attended experienced the art, music and culture filled wonderland from a place I call home.
Next year’s Chale Wote festival will eventually roll around again. People like myself, will travel from far and wide to experience the majestic beauty, art and music the festival offers. Until then, we should all adopt the notion of the “Spirit Robot.” The notion that we can unite our passions and energies to create meaningful change and make this world a better place for all.
Don’t wait until next year to unleash the passion and energy generated at the festival. Feel the “Spirit Robot’ now in this very moment.
Until next year, let the good vibes from the “Spirit Robot” roll…
Author: Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.