Four Things You Probably Heard At Blankets & Wine
You may not be able to keep up with how many editions of Blankets of Wine have happened so far, but you most likely know it went down on the 25th of September, and in case you missed it, or are already feeling a little nostalgic about it, here are four things you probably heard people say at the latest edition of Blankets & Wine.
“Kyoka the museum was better!”
This past weekend was Blankets & Wine’s housewarming at their new home: the Lugogo Cricket Oval. Before we get into that, we’d like to recognise everyone who went to the Uganda Museum first and then sheepishly turned around and headed to Lugogo. You know yourselves.
Gone were the sprawling museum gardens with picnics, tents and revellers cascading towards the stage at the bottom of the slope, replaced instead by the flat, expansive, manicured lawns of the cricket oval, which alone made it all feel a lot more organised and sophisticated. Was it that much more different in content? No, it was like one of those beer bottle redesigns: the same great taste in a new package.
However, there are always those people who prefer the familiar to the new, not because it was better, but because it was familiar.
“Who Didn’t Pay The Rainmaker?”
As you looked around the new venue and surveyed the different hospitality tents lining the grounds, it is very likely you also looked up and saw the clouds gathering. Everybody became a weather reporter, divining the grey skies;
“Those are just Cumulo… Cumulo-Taurus clouds, namwe it won’t rain! Kilabika S.S.T. mwagigwa.”
But rain it did. You can get a million things right putting together an event like Blankets & Wine only to be let down by the weather. The band onstage kept playing through the rain as revellers rushed to pack up their picnics and retreat.
“The rainmaker hasn’t yet got his mobile money”,people joked, covering up their discomfort with muddy toes in open shoes and their fear that they just wasted money on a ticket to a thing that was flopping before their very eyes. But that is exactly why it could not fail. By six o’clock, the rain had cleared and the oval was bustling, given the fact that most people had already bought their tickets at 100,000 UGX a pop, there is no way they were going to let it go to waste.
“Ezzo Fees z’ Abaana.”
The entrance to the Cricket oval was quite busy, and many who did not even know what a Blankets & Wine is were milling around. The music was loud, lots of beautiful, well-dressed people were streaming in, and even those who hadn’t planned on it were trying to figure out what to do to get in. Until they heard it was 100,000 UGX.
“Eiii, namwe, ezzo fees z’ abaana,”
one gentleman said, amused by how an amount equivalent to three months’ fees in some Ugandan schools was the price of an evening of good times. This is the moment when you realise that Blankets & Wine is the closest thing Kampala has to the recently deceased (or comatose) Royal Ascots Goat Races; an event targeted at Kampala’s bourgeoisie with fewer weird hats, fewer goats, more people sitting on the floor and whole lot more live music.
“They Are Going To Start With The Shuffle Song!”
While we were turned inside out by local acts from Levixone to Qwela, to Lilian Mbabazi backed up by The Mith and Ruyonga, the palpable anticipation for the headlining act increased with every passing set. “Put money, they are starting with The Shuffle Song,” some said, most likely referring to Ndihamba Nawe, one of Mafikizolo’s first continental hits.
Hailing from South Africa and performing predominantly in Zulu, the duo has amassed an international following of people who do not understand exactly what they are saying but don’t need to in order to get down. They delivered a versatile and energetic performance, going through a medley of their hits, as well as some unknown numbers while giving almost every member of their band and backup dancers a chance to shine as they changed costumes just off-stage. It is possible that we enjoyed the performance so much that it felt shorter than it was, but one gentleman, feeling more insightful than he was quipped;
“So it must have been 10K, 10K per song, eh?”
No. That calculation assumes everyone else performed for free.
It also goes to show that Blankets & Wine was a blast, and like all good things, ended too soon. Having been the Oba-How-Many-eth edition, it provided a change of location without messing too much with what has already proven to be a winning formula. Our bet is that there is one more “Blankets” in 2016, and we hope you will be there to experience it for yourself.
Photos: Jonathan Jab