Dating Likoma Island is fun, but it was more fun and thrilling to experience a live music performance on the upper deck of the marine vessel (MV) Ilala enroute to the island at the weekend.
This was the first live band performance on board hosted by the Likoma Summer Cultural Festival since 2014 when the event was inaugurated.
Reggae group The Wailing Brothers took up the challenge soon after leaving Senga Bay, Salima to hold their first ever performance at the top deck of the ship.
The group relentlessly dished out various tunes until patrons retired to bed only to resume the party the next day after leaving Nkhotakota.
The ship arrived in Likoma on Saturday at mid-day where music performances were hosted at Ndunda Bay. The concert started around 7pm and spilled over to Sunday morning.
Some of the performers included Atoht Manje, Ankhoswe Frank Kaunda, Chipasula Project, Likoma Islanders Band and Kaka (Kanthu Kalinda).
The patrons were also treated to a disco with Mike C from the Malawi Broadcasting Station (MBC) on the turntables, assisted by DJ Wayne and RJ the DJ.
The festival’s spokesperson Patrick Chikoti described this year’s festival as amazing “with some twists and turns”.
“For example, for the first time we had a parade combining government departments, including the military and police on top of cultural dance troupes. “This was a marvel to watch. Strong messages about our culture are now everywhere as we have showcased 11 of the 12 traditional dances we have on the island.
“We also had sightseeing tours, a wonderful music concert with good patronage. The swimming and dugout canoe racing competition will definitely become the next big thing,” he said.
Chikoti said regardless, they had some hiccups which is normal in any event.
However, some patrons felt the festival failed to beat its own record of 2016 when the ship was exclusively booked for the event.
This year, the ship was not exclusively booked and it used its normal route which forced patrons to stay on the island longer than necessary.
The ship left the island on Saturday for Nkhata Bay and Karonga and was expected to return on Tuesday to pick the patrons for Monkey Bay.
“The last two days are unnecessary because we are mostly idle with no any other mode of transport back to the mainland. We are all at the mercy of the ship which has to fulfill its schedule,” said Innocent Katema.
The festival was held alongside the Likoma Tourism Expo which took place between Wednesday and Friday.