Sawa Sawa Festival History

From 2002, Sarakasi Trust has established a legacy in Kenya by organizing high profile events and mega concerts. Important objectives for hosting an event of this kind are to develop audiences, bring profile and exposure to Kenyan artists and build capacity in the area of cultural entrepreneurship and festival production. Sarakasi Trust initiated the concept of the annual Sawa Sawa Festival to create a unique festival with an African identity appealing to the Kenyan public at large while at the same time creating an opportunity to reach out to audiences across age, gender, cultural and economical back grounds. Sawa Sawa aims to promote and stage the performing arts through several platforms like workshops, exchanges between local and international artistes, technical skill and cultural sharing workshops, community building (theme) activities, jam sessions/studio recordings, media activations and the multi stage multi day concerts. The Sawa Sawa Festival attracts audiences of over 100,000 people. To date two documentaries about the festival have been produced. Always at hand to spice up the event are the Sarakasi All Stars, showcasing the best in acrobatics and dance. Each year Sarakasi’s projects like Wapi, Amani Lazima, the Hospital Project and others are offered a platform in the festival as well. Being a family event, lots of fun activities for kids are part of the programming.

Sawa Sawa Festival

Sawa Sawa Festival

In order to create platforms for Sarakasi’s performing artists, projects and other stakeholders and to reach out to a diverse audience, Sarakasi initiated its audience building program in 2003 by starting to organize small and big scale creative productions and events.

Apart from renting out the Dome to (cultural) stakeholders, regular features on Sarakasi’s Dome based own cultural agenda are, amongst others, Friday evening concerts providing a platform to Sarakasi artists, deejays, emcees and musicians, a monthly open mike Hip Hop event, a bi-monthly dance-circus fusion evening event and the annual Sawa Sawa multi disciplinary Festival. Through these activities Sarakasi strives to give its affiliated artists tools to manage their art, lives and careers more effectively and successfully.

The annual Sawa Sawa Festival is a multi disciplinary platform where local artists, Sarakasi acrobats, dancers and musicians and regional/ international artists meet, create and perform and where Sarakasi artists and projects are showcased.

sawa sawa festival

The programming therefore has a Sarakasi / African identity appealing to the Kenyan public at large while at the same time creating an opportunity to reach out across age, gender, cultural and economical back grounds. Sawa Sawa aims to promote the performing arts through workshops, meet the artist sessions, technical skill and cultural sharing workshops, community building (theme) activities, media activations and the multi day concerts.

Sarakasi produces quality events in regards to line up, technical production, security, accessibility, services, and media exposure amongst others. In order to run smooth logistics Sarakasi has developed and tried its own structures and policies when it comes to artist and supplier contracts, media plans, implementation scripts, preferred venue lay outs and set up schedules and only engages suppliers with a proven track record. Sarakasi manages its finances in a transparent way, accounts are audited annually and the team adheres to strict monitoring and evaluation policies.

Sawa Sawa has been staged at various venues and 2014 saw the festival back at the Sarakasi Dome as we want to stay close to home and promote our awesome venue.