The cultural scene in Ghana is buzzing at the moment. From indie music concerts, outdoor film screenings and art exhibits, new and engaging arts events keep emerging on the social calendar. Here are some of the things happening in 2017 that you should be excited about.
First up on the cultural calendar is Asa Baako. In the first week in March, it sparks an exodus out of Accra, Kumasi and other urban towns, to Busua in the Western Region, for a week of partying and raving by the beaches and deep in the tropical rainforest. Besides the jungle parties and mosh pits, there’s beachside activities like surfing, beach soccer and volleyball. The festival also brings together creative minds across the cultural landscape including artists and filmmakers, to engage in creative sessions and workshops.
Chale Wote Street Arts Festival
There is no better reason to come to Ghana than for the Chale Wote Street Arts Festival. For a weekend in August, the historical streets of Jamestown in Accra are taken over by artists from all over the world engaging in processions, live performances, films screenings and jam sessions. It serves as a platform for local upcoming artists to present themselves to the world. The sheer volume and range of activity make it the premier arts event on the calendar.
Accra Theatre Workshop
Since its inception the Accra Theatre Workshop has completely shaken up the capital’s thespian landscape. Through free-flowing experimentation, with sounds, lights, contemporary dance and other art forms, the theatre troupe puts together frequent shows based on topical issues such as elections and identity. Nowhere else in Ghana is theatre more dynamic and cherished than at their plays, electronic dance sessions or story marathons.
Ghana has a vibrant indie music scene, with artists such as Jojo Abot, Wanlov, Manifest and Juls making waves internationally. The Sabolai Radio Music Festival is the one stage that brings them together for a weekend of fun live music. Held each year in December, this indie festival also attracts from the rest of the continent. There is also a shrine where album covers of rare Ghanaian vinyl records are displayed. At Sabolai Radio, you get to see an alternate and refreshing side of Ghanaian music, both old and new, on the same stage.
Classics in the Park
In the 50s and 60s, Ghana had a communal cinema culture where towns and filmmakers organised free public screenings under the night sky. African Film Society, an Accra-based group of film enthusiasts have revived this tradition with monthly screenings in Akola Boni Park in Osu. They are free and feature films from legendary African filmmakers including Ousmane Sembéne and Kwaw Ansah, as well as historical documentaries. It is popular with curious young people eager to learn about the Africa and Ghana of old, through the magic of film.
Brunch Over Books
Are you a bookworm, a foodie or both? If so, then this is just the event for you. Over the past year, this collective of book fanatics have come up with a creative way of promoting reading in the city. Their monthly speed dating-style Sip n Swap events encourage people to come together and share their literary passion and of course good food. Brunch Over Books will continue to foster this exciting community in 2017, starting with a session at the end of January. It is proving to be an ingenious way of interacting with Ghanaian and African literature while meeting interesting people at the same time.