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Hit and misses at Walker Town concert as Fally Ipupa pockets Sh4million

By Neema Amani October 2nd, 2023 3 min read

Despite being announced on short notice, the buzz leading up to the Nairobi edition of the (Johnnie) Walker Town concert overshadowed the other two major entertainment events that took place over the weekend.

On the same night as Walker Town, the “Jyuuce Party” unfolded—an event featuring a live recording of comedian Abel Mutua’s iconic storytelling intertwined with an electrifying musical performance. Both events, held on Saturday, September 30, had packed venues.

Mutua’s show, much like Walker Town, attracted a full house at the 2,100-capacity auditorium, The Edge Convention Centre.

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It’s worth noting that “Jyuuce Party” had been announced two months prior to Walker Town and was priced at Sh3,000 for VIP tickets and Sh1,500 for regular tickets. The third event of the weekend was Muthoni The Drummer Queen’s “Blankets & Wine” on Sunday, which didn’t seem to generate the same level of hype and excitement as Walker Town and “Jyuuce Party.”

Some revelers chose to split their Saturday night between “Jyuuce Party” and Walker Town, which took place at Uhuru Gardens. However, social media and on-the-ground observations indicated that Walker Town received the lion’s share of attention, largely influenced by the presence of Congolese rumba maestro Fally Ipupa.

Sources reveal to Nairobi News that the decision to include Fally Ipupa in the lineup was a last-minute addition driven by concerns that Tiwa Savage might not draw the massive crowd witnessed on Saturday.

The demand was so high that ticket tags ran out at the gates, with crowds waiting to enter the venue even at 10 PM.

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Fally Ipupa, who had not performed in Kenya since 2017, arrived in Kenya on Saturday morning after a grueling 16-hour road trip to and from Arua, Uganda, where he performed on Friday, September 29. Despite his fatigue, he delivered a thrilling performance lasting one hour and thirty minutes, flanked by his male dance troupe.

It is worth noting that for this performance, Fally Ipupa was reportedly paid Sh4 million, an amount considered “pro bono” according to insiders, given the artist’s usual performance fees.

The decision to book him from Uganda rather than Paris, where he resides, helped keep the costs down.

“Fally doesn’t come cheap, but he was on this occasion, and it’s because the Nairobi organizer booked him from Uganda. They only had to fly him from Kampala. If they had to book him from Paris, where he resides, then amounts would have been much crazier,” a booking agent disclosed to Nairobi News.

While most of the performances throughout the night were near perfect, DJ Pierra Makena’s set experienced sound issues and numerous lags between sets, leaving many concertgoers agitated.

Technical glitches of the screens persisted from 7 PM onwards, with no apparent effort made to address them.

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Had there been a downpour a possible reincarnation of the mess witnessed at the Stanbic Boyz II Men in June would have repeated itself.

In terms of organisation, the event’s curators, YDX agency, supported by sponsor Johnnie Walker, could make improvements in VIP packages for future events.

For the price of Sh8,000 VIP tickets, so much was left to be desired, save for the meals.

“The meals were good. Nairobi Street Kitchen burgers were amazing. The food was hot and only took about 5-10 minutes from the time of ordering,” Martin Mwangi, a reveler, told Nairobi News.

But it was easier for anyone to notice the waiter services at the VIP were almost nonexistent.

“You had to go to the bar and buy, and yet this is VIP. Alcohol also ran out at some point at the VIP. Imagine that,” another reveler observed.

For the setup, YDX had it all figured out, just that they had way more people than they had planned for in the VIP area if a comparison were to be drawn with the Walker Town Nakuru edition.

“I did notice that a lot of those tickets at the VIP were complimentary. There were too many people with regular bands at the VIP. I don’t know how they let that happen. Honestly, there was no difference between VIP and regular apart from the couches. Maybe it’s now time for these organisers to differentiate between regular, VIP, and Golden Circle. These need to be redefined when it comes to events in Kenya because we have been played for way too long,” an irked Maureen James vented.

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