For close to 6 years, Blankets and Wine has made a name for itself as one of the greatest experiences one can have in the Kenyan entertainment industry. From the music, to the ambience to the performances, Blankets and Wine have always lived up to their expectations. When they took their one year hiatus in 2015, hearts were crushed. For a whole year, people ached for Blankets and wine to return and when they had their first show of the year yesterday: they surpassed all expectations.
With a refreshed and rebranded feel, The Blankets and Wine event featuring the ever soulful Mayonde, Just-a-Band, Muthoni the Drummer Queen – the bauss lady herself and the legendary California-based, Panamian artist, Aloe Blacc; made sure that they were one of the biggest events that we have seen in 2016.
Some of the ways that Blankets and Wine preceded all expectations include:
1. It was a very family friendly event. They made sure that the Ngong racecourse grounds were very safe and family friendly. You could see little children playing and running around without the fear of them getting lost, or worse, even as the grownups enjoyed the event.
2. The food and drink: Most of the times, people would prefer going with their own food and drink. I mean, the event is called Blankets and Wine. But this time was a lot more different than other editions. There was an assortment of various food eateries like Mama Rocks, Java, Need Gelato, Kula Kraft, Naked Pizza, The Good Food Company (offering a Greek menu), and The Cherry Tomato for mouth-watering menus at only Kshs 1000. What made the afternoon ever better was the fact that each ticket came with a Kshs 500 voucher from Hello Food to be used at your convenience.
Blankets and wine also partnered with EABL to setup a very friendly and affordable liquor store with a wide selection of all your favorite drinks at a great price. Drinks were only sold to customers over the age of 18.
3. The diversity of fashion and artwork: This year’s edition was a bit different. Unlike other times when the main focus was the performances starting from around 3p.m, this show was starting at 11. This gave event revelers ample time to visit the stands which gave a very interesting and assorted collection of clothes, accessories and art work. From Republi.ke, Own Your Culture by Miss Vavavum and Afri-na-Ladi, Adele Dejak the brand, Bongosawa republic clothing and Gonzala leathers.
There was also the presence of Mobicharge Kenya who would charge customers’ phones with custom-made chargers for all phones so that you couldn’t miss to capture every moment of the event just because your phone was on low battery.
4. The silent disco: The Aloe Blacc show featured Kenya’s first ever outdoor silent disco which was purely a wireless headphone party. Basically what that means is that you could get a pair of wireless headphones and they had amazing music from Ukweli, NuFvnk + Jinku plus visuals from Bazil. For the exchange of only your national I.D, you could get the funky experience throughout the whole day.
Before the performances and also during the breaks between performances, the silent disco offered endless amazing music that was streaming live from the EA wave tent. What that guaranteed was a continuous flow of music wherever you were in the vicinity of the venue.
5. Great discounts on transportation: Blankets and Wine also partnered with Easy Taxi Kenya to give customers over a Kshs 400 discount on transport to and from the event. This was in an effort to reduce traffic, reduce gas emissions to the environment and also to give customers an easy way to get to the venue instead of worrying about fuel and parking for your car.
6. The performances!!! This was definitely one of the main reasons why people turned up in such large numbers. With the perfect weather and already musical atmosphere that was set by EA wave, people were already in the perfect mood to enjoy the riveting performances.
At around 1 p.m. they held an interactive artist discussion with Mayonde, Muthoni drummer queen and members of Just a Band. This was to give people a deeper understanding of the artists’ music, their journeys and some of the projects they are currently working on. From the discussion, the artists went back stage to prepare as they finished setting up the stage as we kept enjoying the background music.
Then the magic began with Mayonde’s performance. With her amazing voice and soulful performance, she managed to have both grownups and children on their feet as we danced and sang along to her tracks that were a mix of throwbacks, renditions of locally recognized songs and some of her famous tracks like ‘Isikuti Love’.
Up on stage was Just a band who were, as always, electrifying. They had people singing along to their tracks as they shook the stage with their blend of hip hop, disco and electronica tracks. After their performance their ever loyal fans urged them to get back on stage, and they did, with what would be a very memorable set that their fans would enjoy for the last time with the band taking a two year break.
Muthoni Drummer Queen also had her loyal listeners singing along to all her tracks. From the moment she got on stage you could feel that it would be nothing short of an amazing performance; and she did not disappoint. She even had a surprise set with Khaligraph Jones. With the amazing blend of pop music to chilled-out reggae, the bauss lady really warmed up the crowd for what would be one of the biggest and most soulful performances by Aloe Blacc himself.
From the moment he got on stage, Aloe Blacc managed to wow the crowd with his soulful voice and music as he even got the crowd to interact with the energy of the audience. He proved himself as one of the greatest artists Kenyans would ever see with his irresistible power to capture people’s emotions and give a standing ovation set that would forever live in the minds of all who came. His tracks were diverse: With an assortment of love & jazz songs that he had us singing along to even without fully knowing the lyrics and an acoustic rendition of the song that he closed the stage with – Wake me up – which he had to perform twice after the crowd chanted for him to get back on stage.
The Aloe Blacc show was nothing short of exemplary and you could feel the crowd’s excitement even as they made their way to their cars and taxis to get home after the performances were over. Some didn’t want to leave the ambience of the place. Others wanted Aloe to sing till midnight. All in all the Blankets and Wine experience was one of a kind and I’m already itching for the next edition of the event!