The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Protais Mitali, joined hundreds of people at Amahoro National Stadium's main parking ground in Kigali to mark the closing ceremony of the two-day KigaliUp music festival.
The festival that kicked off on Saturday attracted seasoned musicians from various countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal and the U.S.A.
Many popular and emerging local artistes such as, The Brothers, Dr. Claude, Riderman, Jay Polly, King James, Kamichi, Dream Boyz, Rafiki, Tom Close, Mani Martin, Holy Jah Doves, Abdul Makanyaga and Gaby performed alongside international artistes.
Various cultural music troupes, including Ikombe and Ingoma Nshya, were also involved.
Founded by Juno Award-winning Rwandan-Canadian artiste Mighty Popo, last year, the festival brings a unique, authentic entertainment and educational experience to the country besides giving artistes a new, central platform and exposure to international artistes, new sounds and performance approaches.
KigaliUp was organised in partnership with a team of local and international arts industry veterans, including Rwanda's Positive Productions.
This year, Senegal's Ismael Lo wowed audiences with his lush percussion-laden mbalax songs. Quirky 6-piece Afro Pop Ma3 represented Kenya, while Burundi's Steven Sogo brought his re-imagined traditional performances to the stage.
From South Africa was Tumi & The Volume and Zimbabwean master mbira player Chiwoniso. American Blues revivalist Corey Harris, who collaborated with the late Ali Farka Touré, made his first trip to the country with his band.
At the venue, there were two stages; a marketplace for local handicrafts and arts, refreshments/food tents, while the other had a family zone besides the holding of workshops.
Speaking to The New Times, Mighty Popo said that KigaliUp aims at enhancing the local music industry by training sound and stage technicians and helping local emerging artists to advance their careers, develop high quality recordings and stage plots as well as market materials.
He said: "The aim of the festival is to promote Rwandan artistes, as well as the country's culture through music."
"Being a musician, I've been lucky to perform at different stages around the world," said Mighty Popo.
"When I came to Rwanda, I felt so sad because there was no platform for artistes to exploit their art to a better level."
"This is my way of trying to be part of the rebuilding process in our country through what I know; which is the cultural and music industry," noted Mighty Popo.
"In the next five years, I see KigaliUp really - really big because it's all about togetherness, community building and promoting our own culture and I think the signs are great," he added.
American Blues star Harris expressed his delight after meeting various artistes during the festival such as Ismael Lo and Chiwoniso.
"I've met a lot of great musicians, including local artistes. I love the sound of Rwandan traditional music. I enjoyed it and it touched me deeply," said the Virginia resident.
"It was really inspiring and I feel at home - I don't want to leave."
Harris performed two songs, "Mami Wata" and "Ark of The Covenant".
"I hope that the festival will make it so that music is seen more and heard more in Rwanda. I understand that there are no music schools and music stores in the country."
"So I hope it will develop and I think the big part of that is by bringing musicians from other countries in the country," added Harris.
Many artistes at the event had a good impression about the festival.
"Coming to Rwanda specifically for this event is not only inspiring but brings us together to learn and devise means of developing our talents or advancing our music career," said Sekele Kwelagobe, a Southern African Hip-hop artiste.
One of the country's veteran artistes Abdul Makanyaga, could not hide his excitement after participating in the festival.
"I'm so delighted. I was able to meet artistes from different parts of the world, example, Senegal's Ismael Lo," said Makanyaga.
The 65-year-old electrified the crowd with his old albeit poplar hits on radio stations; These include"Uzajya agukunda nawe uzajye umukunda", "Ndagukunda", "Rubanda ntibakakoshye" and "Ganyobwe".