Bayimba Festival Director Faisal Kiwewa

After ten years of stay at the National Theatre, the Bayimba International Festival will this year move to a spacious new home in the midst of a leafy environment on the shores of Lake Victoria.

“We have been thinking about the long-term viability of the festival so that we can continue to go on for another 10 years. We have been exploring different approaches to sustain our annual festival and are extremely excited to have been able to acquire an amazing location,” says festival director Faisal Kiwewa.

The immediate advantage of the new location includes on-site parking, which will eliminate this logistical challenge faced thus far, as well as room for on-site accommodation, Kiwewa says.

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Artistic programming will also benefit from the new space, with plenty of room to spread out and an inspirational environment that lends itself for some innovative design and layout, a great opportunity to refresh and revitalise what the festival has been offering its fans.

The festival will however stay truthful to its promise to stimulate and inspire creativity, innovation and collaboration, and thus to contribute to developing the arts sector at large.

“In terms of programming we will be very similar to what our audiences are used to – exciting multi-arts programming at various stages for people from all ages and strata – just in a different location with more breathing room,” underlines Kiwewa.

New dates

Because of the move to the new location, the dates of the festival will change as well.

Whereas the festival was traditionally held during the third weekend of September, it will now be held during the first week of August, to work in sync with climatological realities and to attract an increasingly varied audience.

“Although it will be a challenge to get the new spot ready for the 11th edition of the festival – with a couple of month to bring our plans to life – we are excited to embark on this adventurous journey, together with a growing list of equally exciting partners. And we invite old and new friends and fans to join us in this adventure,” says the festival director.

Part of a larger vision

With this move, BAYIMBA is pushing towards the urban edges of the growing Kampala metropole. Although this will present numerous challenges, the upside is a much larger long-term vision of BAYIMBA.

Not only will the new location host its flagship event, but over time a new and unique ecologically sensitive cultural ecosystem will come to life at this exceptional setting: a home for the arts with an exciting range of physical spaces for arts training, production, performance and exhibition combined with multiple opportunities for eco-cultural tourism.

“The time is right to move out of the city centre and establish a home of our own – the move is a logical step in the evolution of BAYIMBA,” says Kiwewa.

“While we will continue to work and partner with the National Theatre for multiple events and activities, as an organisation we need to guarantee the sustainability and growth of our programmes and activities,” Kiwewa says.

He adds that the decision to move is driven by the desire to continue to be a relevant driver of and continue to add value to creative sector development in an ever growing vibrant environment.

“We want to create a convivial village atmosphere that gives arts practitioners year-round space to create and innovate and fans and visitors plenty of opportunity to experience and explore.”

Practical information

The new location is well away from but easily reached by road from Kampala (42 km) and Jinja (60 km) while it will also be reachable by boat.


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