As most African countries battle third and fourth waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of music lovers will be converging at the Zone Kinama Stadium in Bujumbura July 30-31 for the Marahaba Music Expo.
Now in its third edition, the two-day music extravaganza, which aims "at educating and promoting Burundi musicians," will bring together musicians, delegates and fans from the world over, Shabani Ramadhani, the Marahaba Music Expo founder and director, said.
Themed International Music Forum for Africa, it will be one of the first mass events to test the waters about relaxing Covid restrictions around live and nightlife events in the region ever since the pandemic landed. International stars lined up include Cameroon's Armand Biyag and Biglad, Tanzania's DJ Mbowe, DR Congo's King Etienne and Jampara the Bata Lion from The Netherlands.
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Others are Brahim El Mazned from Morocco, Faisal Kiwewa (Uganda), Senegal's Luc Mayitoukou, Cameroon's Tony Mefe, Claire Diboa and Mory Toure (Mali), Vanessa Kanga (Canada), Armene Doua (Ivory Coast), Balima Issouf (Burkina Faso), Juma Masoud (Tanzania) and Thomas Lusango (DRC), who will lead artistes in daytime discussions as panelists at the French Institute, Bujumbura.
They will discuss the business of music and marketing, the role of professionals and women leaders in the continent's music industry.
The government through the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Culture and Sports is a partner for this festival. Burundi has not had any lockdown.
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend this free event, and masks are not mandatory, and no Covid-19 safety measures have been put in place.
"Burundi is safe. We don't have Covid-19 patients so putting on masks or sanitising is not mandatory for attendees. But those who feel unsafe are free to take their own precautionary measures," Mr Ramadhani told The EastAfrican.