The second edition of Back to Africa Festival wrapped up in the wee hours of Monday at the coastal village of Batokunku, West Coast Region, with the organisers satisfied with the outcome of this year's event.
The annual music festival which was held for the first time in The Gambia in 2012 was organised and promoted by the proprietor of Ariwa Sound Limited, UK, Neil Joseph Fraser, alias Mad Professor. Ariwa Sound is one of the longest and largest running Black Music systems in the United Kingdom engaged in the promotion and development of music.
Among the artistes that performed at this year's festival were Joe Ariwa; General Levy; Dennis Bovell; Jah Revelation; Roots Daughters; Mad Professor Fireman; Heartbreaker; Deadly Hunta; and Winston McAnuff.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the three-day event, Fraser said the objectives of the festival are to promote and cement the relationship between Ariwa Sound and Gambians. He said the first edition of the festival was more of a labour anniversary compared to the second edition, which was a reinforcement of the 'Back to Africa' call. He underscored that prior to this year's edition, they had sensitised everyone about the reason why black people in the UK and Caribbean need to engage in relationships with Africa and the closeness of blacks all over the world.
Fraser described the festival as a success,in that it brought a lot of people together to make friends, with others coming back to acquire property to settle down in The Gambia. "The first edition of the festival brought together people from Jamaica; Argentina; Brazil; UK; Slovenia; France; Germany among other countries to The Gambia," he said. For the second edition, he added, it drew people from countries like Colombia, Austria, UK, amongst others.
Fraser hailed the support received from the government through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Gambia Tourism Board.