There was fanfare and wild partying at the Nile Discovery Resort in Njeru Municipality in Buikwe district on the first night of Nyege Nyege festival. By 8pm hundreds of people had packed all the five spaces reserved for music performances.
By 8pm the Disc Jockeys turned up the volume of the music as revelers danced away to their favourite songs. Several women dropped the small blouses and t-shirts they were wearing during the day and only remained in bras despite the chilling wind from River Nile.
Some of the revelers were seen sipping away their favorite drink, which came in form of spirits, beer, sachet alcohol and wines. Most revelers danced firmly holding their drinks in disposal cups and bottles. Some of the revelers were tacked away smoking Shisa behind the music stages.
The revelers paid Shillings 20,000 to smoke Shisha in groups of five people. Another group would take over when the charcoal fanning the Shisha dies out after about 20 minutes.
John Ssebunya, a Shisha vendor said he came with 6 holders but by 10pm he had made about Shilling 700,000 yet the party was just beginning. The smell of Shisha smoke coming from the revelers mouth and nose was mixed with Marijuana and cigarettes.
At the main stage, about 6 whites comprising of two women and four men could be seen passing around a stick of marijuana. The smell was nauseating but none of the revelers standing close to them seemed to be moved as they continued dancing, chanting and murmuring.
The mixture of the cigarette and Marijuana smokes was calmed by the flavored smell of Shisha, which would be cleared by the freshness brought by trees and the River Nile.
The main stage was the most crowded with people dancing to different live band music, while the Eye stage where different foreign DJs was filled to capacity. The Bell Lager stage was mainly full of young people and majority Ugandans and Kenyans.
The DJs played dance hall music, which is dominant on Uganda’s airwaves. As darkness formed, the crowds at the cultural stage reduced and by 10pm, less than 20 people were seen dancing to the drumming and singing of different cultural groups from Uganda and East Africa.
Then there was the instrumental stage. Here, there were few black people that could be seen dancing to the rock music and the other instrumentals. The whites who had filled the stage danced off beat, off tune and seemed to enjoy more than at the other stages.
The corridors were full of people making way to go and check out other stages. At around 11pm, a team of young men wearing pink t-shirts began patrolling the venue looking for anyone without a tag on his or her arm.
One of the patrollers told this publication some people know the geography of the place and can find a way to the venue without going through the check points.
But their biggest worry was that many of these are usually thieves basing on the past experience. Their advice was precise. Be on the lookout of people without an arm band of MTN Nyege Nyege. By Midnight, the dancers had paired up as couples, many of them already drunk, staggering into fellow dancers or falling on other revelers.
By 2am, the revelers started getting cosier and the drunkards were getting out of hand. Many shouting on top of their voices but luckily, the high volume of music restrained whatever they were saying. By that time, some people had already dozed off from whatever point they sat.
Some on chairs, others on logs and others on the grass. The dances by couples at this point had gotten erotic and little was left to imagination, many kissing and caressing as they danced.
Couples began moving away from the stages and heading out of the gate to the camping sites but that did not reduce the crowds as more people were still entering the resort.
There are some small bars in unfinished structures and here, one could barely tell what was happening. The darkness was blinding as the only source of light were tiny colored decorations on one side.
Winnie Njeri, a Kenyan national who came with her boyfriend said, “This is so far the best night I have had in my 28 years of life even though am only drinking Soda.”