Performing Arts

New age concert grows in Kenya

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Kenyan artist Nyashinski performs during the second edition of the Walker Town experience at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on May 6, 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Last weekend Nakuru played host to an emerging type of concert that is now favoured by event organisers seeking to give fans an exhilarating immersive experience.

The second edition of Walker Town Coachella-like extravaganza, sponsored by Jonnie Walker held at the Rift Valley Sports Club was a fusion of several events designed to make the experience unforgettable.

There were performances by artists, DJs, free mixologist master classes for lovers of whisky and cocktails, fashion, gaming, and even a Santorini-like experience at a VIP dome with a makeshift pool with colourful gold and white beach beds.

Organisers of this year’s promenade concert, YDX Agency which specialises in experiential marketing and consumer research said that rather than make profits, the idea was to treat concertgoers to an experience that would endear them to the sponsoring brand.

"Food prices were affordable and all the drinks were at a reduced price. Our argument was, you have already paid for the ticket why charge you more again for the drinks and food," said Ciru Ngigi, YDX Agency Managing Director.

Here's a recap.

Joeboy, Nyashinski headline

The Nakuru edition of the Walker Town series had two main headline acts. The organizers opted to fly in Nigerian afrobeat sensation Joeboy.

The Sip hitmaker had the longest performance of the night manning the stage for two hours, performing his known and unknown records, backed by a live set band.

Sandwiched between Okello Max's and Nyashinski's performances, Joeboy’s wasn’t near enticing but it was good enough to set the tone for Nyashinski who by no doubt had the best performance of the night.

Fresh from collecting a reportedly Sh4 million paycheque from the Mo Festival event a week before, Nyanshinski delivered yet another winsome performance, if revellers' reactions and wild actions were anything to go by.

For the one hour 45 minutes he was on stage, the singer put on an exhilarating show, backed by his band of a pianist, two guitarists, a percussionist, a drummer, two trumpeters and a flag bearer (whose job it is to wave Nyashinski white flag during the performance).

Together, they bellowed almost, if not all of his hits.

Okello Max had his moment too and did well enough to warrant a good paycheck, especially with his opening performances.

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Long beache chaise lounge for revelers during the second edition of the Walker Town experience at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on May 6, 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Flavour Studio on site

The magnificent beautifully set up venue had everything going on all engulfed in the loud music.

To bring a twist to things, YDX set up a flavour studio on-site with mixologists offering free master classes of some sort, to whisky and cocktails lovers.

Enough samples were on display and all you had to do was taste, and taste again until you found something for your palate.

"When you walked into the flavour studio we profiled you and got to know if you are a sweet or spicy person. We would then allow you to taste and sample everything to see what works for you," said Ms Ngigi.

At the studio, the concertgoers were also offered advice on various ways of enjoying their favourite drinks, whether they like them neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.

The more you spent time at the studio, the more you were enlightened.

Party, fashion, gaming Streets

Towns have streets right? To the organisers, it only made sense if they could recreate the same. Several pop-ups were colourfully set up to give the impression of walking through a real town.

The party street had nothing else going on other than the party.

Comfy couches were beautifully arranged and lights were set giving the pop-up a nightclub theme. If the club was your kind of vibe, then this was the spot.

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The flavour lounge during the second edition of the Walker Town experience at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on May 6, 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

The drinks were subsidised and cocktails were in plenty. The pop-up also offered a better view of the performance stage.

There was a fashion street pop-up as well where a couple of designers showcased their works. A tattooist and a graffiti artist were also on stand-by for anyone who needed their services.

But if none of those made you happy, then probably the gaming pool pop-up street offered some solace. There was enough video game machines, pool tables, table tennis, and mini basketball to wind the clock.

Artists' exquisite private tents

Artiste's tents offered the comfort of a luxurious lounge. Each artiste had his private tent custom-made to his needs and that of his team.

Joeyboy's tent had everything white, his preferred colour. Nyashinski had his well set up with black and gold couches complemented with a crystal gold chandelier.

A fridge stashed with his desired drinks and that of his band stood beside a long table of the buffet.

Artistes tents were jealously guarded by a coterie of bouncers and only the few concertgoers with all-access passes were allowed access.

Deejays who played most of their sets during the day were the only acts who shared a tent.

The flavor lounge (VIP)

This was the most exquisite space everybody would have loved to be in, but a Sh3,000 ticket proved the difference.

Picture yourself at a magnificent beach resort gateway at Santorini in Greece with everything around it glitzy.

Such was the recreation at the VIP dome complete with a makeshift pool with colourful gold and white beach bed littered around it.

Besides the pool, a pop bar was set up serving all sorts of cocktails. Bowls of real blueberries, pineapples, raspberries, and red pepper were placed in strategic spots within the ‘beach’ for the VIP guests to junk on or garnish their cocktails with.

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The flavour lounge bar where revelers were able to experiment with different cocktails during the second edition of the Walker Town experience at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on May 6, 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

During the day, if you hated the sunlight there were enough gazebos to offer shelter. And for those who adored the rays, a square long beach chaise outdoor lounge provided comfort.

The VIP tickets were redeemable at the flavour lounge bar, for Sh1,000.

Ms Ngigi said a lot of creatives were involved from the stage set-up, vendors, ticketing, suppliers, sound system, and power. In all, over 200 heads were involved.

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