Africa Oyé 2011

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Glenn Tucker

kareyce-fotsoAfrica Oyé 2011. A free festival set to be a scorcher!

After a great start to Spring followed by a dismal few weeks it seems the Summer has finaly started and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as Liverpools Africa Oye Festival 2011 kicks off in Sefton Park on the 18th and 19th of June.

Smashed Music have got the directors cut on what to expect this year and provide a teaser on the atmosphere you can expect at Africa Oye 2011. Thanks to Paul Duhaney for taking the time to answer these pressing questions.

SM: How did you get involved in promoting Africa Oye?

PD: I moved to Liverpool from London in August 1999 and was looking to continue working in Events management and managed to secure a trainee position with Africa Oye which eventually led to a full time post, and 12 year later a Director.

SM: Do you think the festival will spread to any other cities or will it remain unique to Liverpool?

PD: It’s a question that gets asked every year as other cities have always shown an interest in hosting Oye but I think it would only work as an addition to another Event as the logistics and cost implications might make it too difficult to replicate somewhere else. Naturally if we were in a situation where the Event was no longer finically viable in Liverpool then that is something we would need to look at in the future but I think the Festival’s unique atmosphere is due to it being held in Liverpool and would not want to lose that.

SM: How much exposure does Africa Oye give the artists in the UK?

PD: I think the quality of Artists who want to appear at Africa Oye shows how important the Festival has become for them in order to showcase their talents in the UK. 10 years ago it was harder to attract big names to the Festival but such is its reputation in Africa and mainland Europe that we could now programme the Festival 20 times over due to the number of requests we receive to participate.

SM: Does this help them expand their global presence too?

PD: I think so because most of the Artists are massive in their respective countries and in continental Africa but the UK and Europe is a different market so they are aware that a certain amount of re invention is necessary if they want to be a success over here and playing the lies of Africa Oye. Glastonbury and WOMAD certainly does that.

SM: What kind of people /atmosphere can we expect to find?

PD: The great thing about Oye is the complete mix of people you will find there. There is no specific audience type or age and it truly is the whole world in one Park.  I think this has come about because we have put the message out from day one that the Festival is fully inclusive and it has grown naturally in this way. I think that gives me the most pleasure as that is what we have always wanted to achieve.

SM: How does this benefit Liverpool from a cultural perspective?

PD: I think it has a massive impact as every year we are introducing even more new people to the Music and Culture of Africa which breaks down allot of barriers and perceptions. I think from the outside looking in people can see that Liverpool is a City who prides itself on Cultural awareness.

SM: What can we expect from Africa Oye in 2011 compared to 2010?

Much of the same to be honest and if we can emulate last years event then it will be amazing. We have managed against all the odds to make the Festival free again but the quality of Artists has not diminished. We are delighted to announce ‘Queen of Reggae’ Marcia Griffiths will be appearing at Oye this year which is a real coup for us as well as Internationally renowned band The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars will also grace the Oye stage this year.

SM: Aside from music and food are there any other cultural activities happening around the festival?

PD: There will be FREE workshops onsite open to all ages, Children’s Entertainment, as well as some of the best clothes, Arts and Crafts, and Drums on sale from Africa and the Diaspora.

As a registered Charity we will be asking audience members for contributions to help keep the Festival free in the future via Collection buckets, buying an Oye T-shirt, or buying a drink at the Oye Inn.

SM: How do you feel Africa Oye helps with the perception people from the UK have with regards to African culture?

PD: We try to concentrate on the positive images of Africa as most of the stories relating to the continent in the media have negative connotations such as War, Famine, and Aids. We think that by promoting the Music, Food, Fashion, and Culture people can see that Africa is a Continent on the rise.

– Interview Ends –

Check out the line up online at the offical Africa Oye website: http://www.africaoye.com/artists.html

Glenn Tucker