The largest and most important cultural festival on the Tanzanian mainland
The International Bagamoyo Arts Festival is the largest and most important cultural festival on the Tanzanian mainland. It takes place annually in autumn and is a colorful mix of music, theater, dance, acrobatics, discussions and exhibitions.
Several dozen cultural groups from all parts of Tanzania take part in each festival. There are also groups from other black African countries and occasionally guest groups from Europe.
First performed in 1982
The festival has existed since 1982, one year after the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA) was founded. Originally, the festival, organized by the college, was supposed to present the results of the work to the local population of Bagamoyo. However, due to the media coverage, groups from outside also soon registered for the festival. The number of participating artists increased every year. It quickly developed into a national cultural event and has also had an international character since 1986.
Performed in the new theater since 2008
Since 2008 the festival has been taking place in the college's new theater. With around 2,000 seats, it is the largest theater in East Africa, completely roofed over and equipped with numerous new rehearsal stages and spacious adjoining rooms.
The following will be stated on the TASUBA homepage for the festival:
"The Bagamoyo Festival of Arts and Culture has gained extraordinary popularity as it brings together local and international artists and audiences from around the world. Over the past 30 years, the festival has become the most important art event in Tanzania. Some of the goals of this festival are expanding our students' learning platform and promoting their skills and abilities, promoting social awareness of key institutional activities, exposing and supporting activities of local artists, and promoting the network between local and international artists to promote mutual cultural exchange and to recognize the contribution of local artists to the development of art and culture in Tanzania as an instrument for combating poverty.
The 7-day festival takes place every year in the last week of September under the direction of TaSUBa. It offers individual artists and groups the opportunity to apply to participate in order to demonstrate their talents and skills. The festival includes a variety of activities such as performances, symposia and workshops by local, national and international artists in both the visual arts (exhibitions) and the performing arts (dance, theater, acrobatics, music, magic, comedy, etc.)."
The 2020 festival was canceled due to the corona pandemic.
The next festival is expected to take place in the last week of September 2021.