Gambia’s Fajara Dance Festival has Jimpster, Ralf Gum, and Manoo on the bill, but there’s a problem – the festival was meant to start three days ago… (oh, and the hotel’s undergoing renovation work!)

A considerable amount of work goes into organising a festival. You need to secure a venue, lots of talent to actually play at the event, and then there’s far too many logistical issues to detail here that need sorting out as well. It’s an enormous task – with an awful lot of things that can go wrong during the entire process.

However, a festival disappearing almost entirely from public view just days before it takes place is frankly unheard of – and yet this is precisely what’s happened in Gambia this week. On Tuesday, a week long event called the Fajara Dance Festival was due to take place – named after The Fajara Hotel on Atlantic Road in a town of the same name.

The area itself is well-known within the country as a tourist hotspot – so for a festival to occur here wouldn’t be unheard of. However, the Fajara Dance Festival was due to start a few days ago – but at the time of publication, not one act has taken to the stage. So what’s going on?

The picture remains a little murky at the moment, but Ears To The House understands this festival was due to coincide with the reopening of the Fajara Hotel after extensive renovation work on the premises. Early signs of something being amiss appeared last week, when Fajara Festival posted on their Facebook page – claiming to have “an internal issue with being locked out of our own website”…

At the time, they also said that “contrary to rumours, our festival is still taking place”. Just before this, Gillman Audio – based in Redditch in the UK – posted online that they would “no longer be involved with the festival”.

On what’s now supposed to be the fourth day of the festival, Ears To The House has seen people complaining on social media about the accommodation – with the hotel’s building work apparently being “nowhere near finished”, according to one person who tried to check in a few days and was told they couldn’t.

The Fajara Hotel has been contacted for comment but hasn’t yet responded at the time of publication. In the meantime, we’ve also reached out to a few of the DJs on the lineup – with one saying “this whole thing’s been a f***ing farce since I got here”, and another saying they’re now trying to arrange other events to fill their time in the country.

Festival organisers seem to have gone to ground over the past few days – we shall try to track them down over today and into the weekend to see if they can explain any of what’s happened. We suspect we’ll be returning to this one…

Ears To The House Team

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