To anyone planning to visit me next year, or, ok fine, Tanzania --- try planning your visit sometime around Valentine's Day. I'm not angling for chocolates or oh my dear Dar-ling (see what I did there? If you didn't, you don't know me at all so stop reading) flowers. I just want you to come to a music festival. Wait, what? Did I just say A music festival? Sorry, I meant Sauti za Busara, four nights of non-stop 100% live music featuring over 20 (not sure how many they'll have for 2014) artists and bands from different parts of East Africa.
I enjoyed myself immensely when I went early this year. I had no expectations whatsoever, I was missing my Vietnam friends' music and nightly gigs that I went to my first ever music festival. Anybody who knows me well, knows my almost irrational dislike of crowds and the press of strangers around me. I braved that and even set out to meet people or at least, be more sociable that I usually am. I was a bit disappointed I couldn't be there for all four nights but the ferry trip early Saturday morning and Monday morning then straight to work was well worth it.
Next year's festival will be 13-16 February. As usual, it will be in beautiful Zanzibar, an hour and a half away from the city center by ferry or a 15-minute flight from Dar. If you're not the type to spend your days nursing hangovers and just rousing yourself for the music nights, you'll have an awesome time around Stonetown and beaches around it. There's definitely lots to see and do.
Two weeks ago, our Creative Industries project manager, Jane, was practically jumping up and down when she told us that she managed to get British Council Tanzania involved by sending trainees from her project to provide service and support at the festival. I know it's months away but I'm already excited and thinking of how amazing it's going to be because I'll be with colleagues AND friends.
So to everyone reading this, karibu! --- Swahili for welcome
**Photos are taken from www.songlines.co.uk