It started with a minute’s silence to pay respects to the hundreds of people who have died or been displaced since December elections in neighbouring Kenya.
It finished with a heaving dancefloor and partying ‘til the small hours at one of the island’s most stunning white-powder beach locations.
In between, there was a carnival street parade, Swahili poetry competition, Zanzibar Festival Classics CD + DVD launch party, art exhibitions and more than forty of Africa’s finest music groups performing live inside the ancient walls of the Old Fort in the Stone Town of Zanzibar.
77% of those who attended agreed that Sauti za Busara really is “the friendliest festival on the planet.” Most said this year’s edition was the best by far, praising the event for its excellent organisation, exciting and diverse artistic programme, great sound quality, and peaceful ambiance.
More than four thousand people attended each day, including musicians, promoters and media professionals, travellers and tourists, Muslims and rastas and Zanzibari families. People of all ages came together in celebration and were united by the music.
Finally a big thank you to everyone who helped to make the festival such a pleasure. Thanks to Zantel, all festival donors and sponsors, to artists and audience, to trustees, permanent staff and essential crew. Thanks too - to our friends and well wishers around the world who have supported Sauti za Busara during the first five years.
Yusuf Mahmoud, Stone Town, 4 March 2008
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba was easily voted best of the best at this year’s Sauti za Busara festival. “Their show was rootsy, soulful, charismatic and full of energy. In short, a great inspiration for all who were blessed to be there.”
The top twelve performers for 2008 as voted by festival audience and crew were: