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Lessons Nairobi Festival can learn from Dubai Fifa Fan Festival

It is no secret that the Fifa World Cup fever has engulfed the globe right now, football banter dominates conversation and it’s all people can think about at the moment.

It is an inescapable reality especially for event organizers who are looking to attract the attention of the public. As the capital city gears up for its inaugural fiesta, we spoke to event gurus on lessons the Nairobi Festival can learn from the Dubai Fifa Fan Festival.

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Outside of Qatar the Dubai Festival is the closest you can get to a front seat to a World Cup match. It is installed with a massive 330 square meter screens equipped with 4D audio setup overlooking the breathtaking Dubai skyline at the Dubai harbour.

Fusing football, fan, games and music the festival has had riveting performances attracting over 10,000 people daily.

According to pioneer festival curator, Muthoni Drummer Queen, events are not just about the layout but also the curated experience, she holds that it’s about fitting into season and mood of the time.

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Having run Blanket and Wine for 14 years now, Muthoni has gained a lot of experience in the space.

“A Festival is an experience that is tailor made to fit a particular market segment. Half the time people don’t even know what they want until they see it, so you have to have vision to see things ahead of time. At Blankets and Wine we have always gone ahead of our crowds, stepping out the comfort zone to deliver the unexpected,” she told Nairobi News.

Here are six things she says are what Kenyans can learn:

  1. Ride the wave: As one of only six Fifa Fan Festival in the world, Dubai is using this event to attract tourists during this world cup season. Synchronizing hotel, airline and festival tickets bookings. If planned well, the Nairobi festival can position itself to become an attraction for music tourism, just like Nyege Nyege in Uganda.
  2. Sell your city: The Dubai festival has an unrivalled multifaceted seafront viewing and entertainment experience, rekindling the city’s connection with the sea. It’s a major marketing tool that showcases Dubai’s sights and scenes something Nairobi Festival can borrow from.
  3. Safety and security: Dubai is generally a very safe city so this is not even a major concern for festival goers. Nairobi, however, is a different story, Kenya ranks 23 on the crime rate by country index 2022 while the UAE ranks 135. In addition, Uhuru Park has a bad reputation with safety and security something organizers will have to grabble with.
  4. Blow my mind away: From the luxurious seats, branded towers all over the place, the event design is just a work of art. Simple but extremely creative with cargo containers dotted all over the place, the setup is easy to replicate even in Nairobi.
  5. The super-sized screen: in Dubai maybe hard to replicate in Nairobi, but maybe something they may consider. Luckily the Nairobi Festival dates are in between matches, but a watch party or something special for the semi-finals would go a long way.
  6. Top tier headliners: So far, the entertainment heavyweights such as Moroccan American rapper, French Montana, French rapper Koba LaD and South London born artiste Tion Wayne have performed at the Dubai Fifa Fan Festival. Nairobi Festival has not yet released its line up but that will be major tipping point.