Will you be attending the Nairobi City Festival next week? You should. But do you know how much it will cost you to participate as a sponsor? The diamond package, the highest, will set you back a whooping thirty million shillings. That is about USD 300,000! That sounds like an awful lot of money to spend on an event whose value has not yet been market tested. Nonetheless, the organisers are optimistic the festival will draw 15,000 people daily. Perhaps the curiosity to see what has been happening behind the iron sheeting at Uhuru Park will be a big motivation. But then again, won’t the newly renovated city park now charge an entrance fee?

Away from matters of money and access, the six-day festival will kick off this December from the 12th to the 17th. The Nairobi City County Government, which owns the event intends to use it as a platform to celebrate Nairobi’s diversity and rich creative arts and culture. The Nairobi City Festival will indeed be diverse. The planned activities are themed under five pillars.

1. Performing Arts

This pillar will showcase live performances from upcoming and established musicians, poets and dancers. If you love those fit-looking acrobats with their gravity-defying human structures, do not miss the Nairobi City Festival. These days these guys seem to be on every main road junction in Nairobi. Other activities include storytelling and standup comedy.

2. Visual Arts

This is where graffiti artists will thrive and shine. There will even be a graffiti competition complete with awards. City photographers who are always engaged in running battles with county askaris over photography rights will find the Nairobi City Festival a friendly place.

3. Sports

This aspect of the festival will mean some events will take place outside Uhuru Park. The Rugby 7s, for instance, cannot happen anywhere else but Ngong Road. Or can it? Either way, it will be interesting to watch a game of street soccer.

4. Culture

Culture will come alive at the festival through food, fashion, film, and the famous (or infamous) matatu culture (the art part minus behaviour definitely). Matatus in Kenya long transitioned from simply being instruments of moving people from one point to another. They have evolved over the years into works of art and that is what the Nairobi City Festival will be celebrating.

5. Trade

This category should appeal to the business community. It will showcase urban merchandise, traditional and cultural wares, creative bead-works, leather products, stone, wood, metal and bone handicrafts, the service industry and textiles. Emphasis will, of course, be on the “Made in Kenya” concept.

And by the way, if you are exploring sponsorship opportunities and my thirty million starting statement up there discouraged you, do not fret. Five other options exist including Platinum (20 million), Gold (15 million), Silver (10 million), Bronze (5 million), and Crystal (2.5 million). If sponsorship is on the higher side or it is not your thing, consider taking out an exhibition booth at Uhuru Park. A 1.5M by 1.5M booth will go for KES 50,000. Bigger options are also available:

  • 3M by 3M booth (KES 100,000).
  • 3M by 6M Booth (KES 200,000).

For most of you who knew the Nairobi International Cultural Festival, the Nairobi City Festival will feel familiar. But not quite. The cultural festival which took place at the Nairobi National Museum had a global outlook. Outlooks aside, Nairobians (and indeed Kenyans) will have one more festivity to indulge in. But would you spend thirty million to sponsor an event – let alone a maiden one like this? I would love to hear your thoughts.