Flights – £291
Accommodation – £157 (approx. £39 per night)
Trip Type (based on flights and accommodation):
Spending money – £150 (I was so shocked at this because I spent only a fraction of what I’d budgeted and most of it went on Ubers!)
Clothes, hair, nails, lashes etc? – let’s not even go there.
AFRONATION. Where do I even start?
I used to hate when people used the phrase ‘it was a movie’ because I would always think ‘how you can describe an experience like that?’ and ‘how can something feel like a movie?’ After attending AfroNation I get it now. When something is so lit you can’t put any other words to it, that phrase is the best way to describe it. But the thing is AfroNation wasn’t just any kind of movie…it was an Oscar winning blockbuster hit from start to finish.
From the performances to the beach parties to some of the after parties, it was a vibe and a half and if you weren’t there then I’m truly sorry.
So let’s start with what AfroNation actually is. The website describes it as a festival that ‘delivers live performances from some of the most exciting artists in Afrobeats, Hip Hop, Rnb, Dancehall & Bashment. DJ sets will also take place, while boat and beach parties accompany the main festival programme.’ The festival took place in the beach resort town of Praia Da Rocha located within Portimão, Portugal.
Tickets started at £99 for early bird standard and £149 for early bird VIP. When I first saw the prices I was shocked. A 4 day star studded festival for less than £200? Kindly turn to your neighbour and say ‘bargain’.
All tickets included:
- 4 days access to the festival and beach parties
Whilst VIP tickets included:
- Access to dedicated VIP areas, private bar and food kiosk
- Separate toilets
Initially ticket upgrade options weren’t available but shortly after day 1 of the festival there was the option to upgrade to VIP for £35 a day.
You could also buy tickets to daily after parties (£5 per day) and daily boat parties (£33 per day).
If you wanted to buy anything at the festival (eg. food and drinks) you needed to purchase tokens. In the VIP area, food was catered by the Food Junkee Van and included dishes like Jollof Rice and Jerk Chicken and Plantain Wraps with Coleslaw (which was absolutely banging 😍). Prices for those started from 2 tokens. There was also a food court available to all ticket holders which had a number of food trucks serving different meals like burgers, wraps, pizza etc. The bars were stocked with a wide range of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) from shots to cocktails to beer. *A special shout out goes out to the VERY generous bartenders!
The line up was INSANE. Headliners included Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid and a surprise guest which turned out to be none other than J Hus! Other acts included Tiwa Savage, Hardy Caprio, Mo Stack, DJ Spinall, Maleek Berry, D’banj, Jidenna, Femi Kuti, Buju Banton..the list goes on! My favourite performances were from Burna Boy, D’banj and Wizkid. The energy each of them brought to the stage was unmatched.
One of the things that made me so happy about this event is the fact that it was a festival for the people BY the people. It was well organised and considering that this was the first time that it’s been done they set the bar high for all future AfroNations. There were good vibes all around, no fights, no drama – just happy black people in one place. Every day hundreds of Portimão locals would stand on a hill overlooking the main stage and watch all 22,000 of us revelling, singing and dancing. It’s nice to think that they have that image of us instead of some of the negative stereotypes they might have seen elsewhere.
One thing I’d do differently if I attend again is to sort out flights and accommodation early! You’d think being a frequent traveller I would’ve known better and I did but had to give up the original accommodation due to a few people dropping out. As a result we ended up staying at an Airbnb in Armacão de Pêra which was a 30 minute drive away. Save yourself some coins and book accommodation based in Portimão or Alvor early if you plan on going next year.
I’m not a regular festival goer but I don’t know how any other festival I attend can top this one. It was
one of the the BEST festival I’ve attended and I can’t wait to see what else the AfroNation team has in store. Smade (the man behind it) and the rest of the team deserve all the accolades for organising the most amazing 4 days.
They are doing another one at the end of the year in Accra, Ghana so don’t miss out! You too can join in and do ‘WO WO WO’ like the rest of us (if you know then you know) 😂
If you want to check out more pictures and some videos from the trip then have a look at the highlights on my Instagram page (@travelwithtolu)
As always – peace, love and flights.