Festivals are events engaged in by a people as an expressions of their arts, culture, tradition, and sometimes religious beliefs. While some festivals may evoke a sober mood of deep reflection, especially when they start, they are never devoid of the elements of color, music and even dance which ultimately makes every festival a celebration eagerly anticipated. While several festivals are ancient, as old as the people involved, some others are new creations, inspired by the circumstances of the present times. The Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) is an example of a new and modern festival.
Created to unify and promote Malawian arts and culture, the Blantyre Arts Festival was founded in 2009 by Thomas Chibambo, director of the Warehouse Cultural Centre, Blantyre. Among the aims of festival is to liberate the talent of artists and bring socio-economic empowerment via interactive capacity building events.
The inaugural edition of the Blantyre Arts Festival took place at the Warehouse Cultural Centre with a lineup of local artists in a 2-day event. Since 2003, the Warehouse Cultural Centre has been developing and promoting Malawian culture especially, music, dance, theatre, graphic art, literature, as well as film and photography as an independent institution.
The Blantyre Arts Festival is usually held in October over three or four days. A Festival Pre-Opening often takes place on the eve with film show. The opening day kicks off with a carnival through the streets of Blantyre, after which various participating schools make presentations at the main stage of the cultural center.
A host of daily performances and exhibitions take place featuring both local and international stars and troupes. These include music, dance, poetry, drama, comedy, martial demonstration, etc. The last day is often a Sunday and events start at 13:30hrs with Gospel performances exclusively.
The 2015 edition of Blantyre Arts Festival took place from 2nd to 4th of October. Some international acts who have graced the festival include: Tobias Kunze from Germany, Namibian singer, Shishani; Jamaican dub poet, Mutabaruka and the African legend, Salif Keita from Mali.
For additional information, please see: