Catch-up

Lake of Stars Malawi Arts Festival- International Event

By Bezawit Shewarega, July 01, 2019

Lake of Stars is an annual 3-day international festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the 3rd largest lake in Africa. It is widely referenced as being one of the most important festivals on the African continent. The festival, which has been happening since 2004, attracts more than 4000 people with music and art focused on Africa and UK.

A mixture of international volunteers, many with extensive experience in the live events industry, supporting a team in Malawi, organizes Lake of Stars. The festival receives pro-bono support from the UK music industry, with the UK headliners that travel to Malawi usually agreeing to waive their normal performance fees.

An estimated over $1 million is generated by the festival for the local economy each year which makes this festival one of the high-income generators for the economy. This festival by itself boosts the tourism industry as a lot of attendees travel from Europe and Africa to be part of this experience end up visiting different tourist destinations of Malawi.

Besides generating income, this event is special because it showcases Africa. It takes African culture out to the world. It is important for many participants who attend this festival to be able to see the side of Africa that Western media rarely covers. The festival opens opportunities for those people to invest in Malawi as well as Africa.

This is one of a kind festival gathers the top African musicians as well as artists from the United Kingdom, bringing fashion designers, models, and tour agencies all together in one place.

This festival is founded by a British tourist Will Jameson, with the small idea of showcasing beautiful African culture through the eyes of Malawi. In 2004, he held the first festival which more than 700 people attended.

In 2014, Lake of Stars was named one of the top seven African music festivals to attend by CNN.

The festival has different activities throughout the three days. It usually starts with zumba exercise following by art showcases and traditional dance performances as well as fashion show showcasing the cultures of Malawi and other African countries. The night ends with music performances by amazing musicians from all over Africa and UK. The night is full of amazing performances and is considered to be the best part of the festival. The festival also includes talks similar to the TED Talk format, theater, dance and mixed martial arts.

The Lake of Stars project organizes other events in Malawi in addition to the main festival, including the Children’s Future Festival and film festival Lilongwe Shorts. Outside of Malawi the project is organizing new festivals in 2018, taking place in London and Glasgow and featuring artists from Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, South Africa and the UK.

Lake of Stars also organizes different volunteer opportunities for festival attendees providing service to a variety of charities sponsored by the festival including the Microloan Foundation. Attendees also visit orphanages to spend time with children and play games and sports with them.

The festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year with several events taking place in Malawi, London and Glasgow.