The #OMF2019 “List”

A key highlight of the pre-festival activities is the release of the official performance line-up better known to fans as the “List”. The release of the List ranks high amongst the most anticipated aspects of the OpenMicFest experience.

We have no idea how it became referred to as such but for something that people have taken ownership of, it’s inevitable that we adopt terminologies crafted by the fans without knowing the origins.

This brings to mind the “Dem Rek” movement that started as an OpenMicFest campaign slogan and eventually, as with many things related to Gambian music, became a slogan for all. We credit the coinage of that term to Cherry Fatou Njie who suggested it in one of the OpenMicFest online forums.

So back to the List release. Its… About… To Go Down…

If you’ve lived it, you can definitely attest to the fact that it’s an experience laden with excitement and controversy as fans try to make justifications regarding who deserves to be on or shouldn’t be on. The debates centered around the List are a telling example of how close to their hearts, the people regard the event.

As we already know, #OMF2019 is scheduled to run for two consecutive nights for the first time in its 12 year history. Expect a very exciting line-up presenting Gambian music from the contemporary and urban to traditional and everything in between.

#OMF2019 presents homegrown talent on the biggest platform available to all, it also brings on board, artistes and musicians, DJs, sound engineers and broadcast journalists from halfway around the world as part of the AfriCourage to the Smiling Coast for the Gambian music and cultural experience.

Stay tuned for the announcements…

The Expansion is Here!

What has been a long time coming has finally arrived!

When a long held vision begins to clearly unravel and manifest into reality, there is the expected excitement but that also comes tinged with anxiety and countless what ifs. But what if we never decided to start hosting monthly Open Mics or the annual OpenMicFest. What if the event was still hosted at Jakarlo and never moved to the Independence Stadium? What if we never believed in the vision and the process to achieve it?

At Black Lynx Entertainment, it has always been part of the grand plan to extend the OpenMicFest beyond one night of entertainment. Here we are in 2019, steady working to give you an unforgettable experience.

The Gambia’s biggest venue, the Independence Stadium in Bakau, shall, from Friday 27th to Saturday 28th December, 2019 bear witness to this new chapter in the second coming of the Gambian music renaissance. Twelve years of successful programming and showcasing of Gambian talent has helped grow the #ThePeoplesEvent from a sideshow to becoming what is undoubtedly, by far, #GambiasBiggestEvent. We look forward to celebrating with you.

#OMF2019 is engaged in a collaborative project called AfriCourage in partnership with the Goethe Institut and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). With AfriCourage, the OpenMicFest platform will for the first time ever, open up to international performers. The LIVE broadcast by the EBU’s member organizations is expected to draw in a much sought-after non-Gambian audience. The AfriCourage project is also bringing in sound technicians / engineers, journalists, broadcasters on a knowledge exchange and skills transfer mission. The team will be hosting hands-on training workshops to that effect.

In keeping with tradition, programming for Night 1 will capture the spirit and essence of what the OpenmMicFest was built on, the much anticipated All-Gambian line-up. This showcase has for the past 11 years, attracted more attendees than any other event in The Gambia approximating 12,000 to 15,000 fans. This looks set to double with the introduction of a second night.

Night 2 will feature AfriCourage programming with a diverse repertoire as it is meant to give an international face to the festival. The billing will feature a mix of some of the best known Gambian artistes alongside a host of acts from West Africa and Europe. DJ’s will also be included in the line-up for the first ever so expect a real party atmosphere. Stay tuned for the release of the official line-up.

AfriCourage is Coming!!!

#OMF2019 brings you the extended OpenMicFest and with it, AfriCourage.

AfriCourage is a project designed by the Goethe-Institut to support culture and the relevance of music in the social and political environment in West Africa. It could be best described as a wave bringing into the Smiling Coast, a planeload of journalists and broadcasters from member institutions of the European Broadcasting Union, musicians, performing artistes, sound technicians and culture enthusiasts.

The OpenMicFest/AfriCourage expansion is a collaborative exchange between Black Lynx Entertainment, local organizers of the OpenMicFest for the past 11 years; The Goethe-Institut Senegal and The European Broadcasting Union with Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) as the main broadcaster of the festival. It also provides access for our artistes to exploit the opportunities yielded by the exchange to perform for and reach audiences outside of their immediate Gambian fanbase, an opportunity most Gambian artistes have not experienced.

The AfriCourage project enables transcontinental media exposure and enhances the awareness of cultural values. It also seeks to strengthen cultural relations between young African musical protagonists by building a bridge of understanding and respect between African youth and the European media, enabling extensive media coverage.

In addition to the festival, AfriCourage shall include hands-on training in sound engineering, workshops on radio and print journalism, international networking and mentoring, sharing of experiences and knowledge transfer for cultural activists.