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Nyege Nyege event organizers apologise to fans over poor accommodations

By Hilary Kimuyu September 20th, 2022 3 min read

The Nyege Nyege festival delivered on its promise: Days and nights of partying and merrymaking, but the thousands of revellers who thronged the event had only one disappointment, the accommodation situation.

The much-anticipated festival kicked off in Uganda on Thursday and ended on Monday but a section of revellers were not pleased with the accommodation facilities.

Several adventure-hungry partygoers who travelled to the shores of River Nile to be part of the event said organisers promised quality cottages in some areas but they were shocked to find cardboard shacks lacking proper sanitary facilities.

Some of the partygoers attending the festival, which brings together artists from across Africa, told this writer who also attended the festival that “this is not what I paid for”.

The festival, which moved to a new, larger outdoor venue this year, began in 2015 but had been on a pandemic-induced hiatus since 2020.

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Kenyan revellers at Nyege Nyege Festival
Kenyan revellers at Nyege Nyege Festival. PHOTO | HILARY KIMUYU

Speaking exclusively to Nairobi News, the event’s co-founder Arlen Dilsizian admitted that things were not what they are supposed to be.

“The contractor who was contracted to build and deliver the cottages has been arrested and as we speak now, he is behind bars. We got here last week and found nothing was ready. He was sending us false pictures assuring us that all was well,” he said.

He added that they have leased the event grounds for the next 10 years and that after this year’s event, they will start building their cottages.

He assured revealers that this accommodation situation will never happen again.

On Monday, the organisers issued a statement apologising to attendees of the event who were left disappointed by the poorly organized function.

They specifically apologised for the sorry state of accommodation that left disgruntled fans lamenting on social media.

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Kenyan revellers at Nyege Nyege Festival
Kenyan revellers at Nyege Nyege Festival PHOTO | HILARY KIMUYU

According to the team, the service provider contracted to secure accommodation at the venue failed to deliver their promise to the disappointment of the fans.

“Nyege Nyege Festival apologizes for any shortcomings in regards to on-site accommodation at the festival. We genuinely regret any inconvenience caused and we will make sure we improve future editions.”

“It is unfortunate that the service provider called Afro Avenue who was contracted for on-site luxury accommodation did not deliver as promised and also sold illegitimate camping accommodation through his company that we found out on the day of the festival,” reads the statement.

The event organizers have vowed to take legal action against the service provider as well as secure refunds.

“These actions greatly disappointed the festival and our esteemed clients. A civil action will be filed against them and the festival is in the process of securing refunds,” said the Nyege Nyege festival organizers.

Thousands of fans had booked en masse, hoping to retire into swanky nice wooden cottages from the online advertising they looked like cute little spaces.

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According to the organisers of the festival, there was on-site and off-site accommodation.

Those who wish to camp at the site had several options including; Purple Pine Camp, Khapela South African Village, Rapids View Camp, Bring Your Own Forest Camp and Nyege Nyege Wooden Cottages.

The Purple Pine where this writer slept was a private camp in a shaded pine forest overlooking the river and a tent comfortably accommodated two adults. It also comes with two mattresses but revellers had to carry their bedding. It went for roughly Sh8,000.

The Khapela Village had around 100 tents and each tent also accommodated two people. Described as lockable with a touch of South African flare, they were supposed to come with LED lamps, showers and toilets, complete with 24-hour security.

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Accomodation at Nyege Nyege Festival
Accomodation at Nyege Nyege Festival

Despite people coughing up Sh30,293 none of the mentioned amenities was available.

Rapids View Camp, which was sold out in days, had 200 well-spaced tents which accommodated two people and they were to come with a double air mattress and two pillows.

At the Bring Your Own Forest Camp, revellers come with their own tents and gear and set up anywhere in the area at Sh2,600.

The Nyege Nyege Wooden Cottages, later nicknamed ‘the nyege nyege kennels’, were also sold out and were supposed to be fully lockable and have a charging spot for electronic gadgets.

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