As you can see, our irrepressible Tommy Calderbank did eventually bring the sun out with the sheer force of his optimistic personality, but for the first couple of hours of today’s Africa Oye in Sefton Park it was a different and wetter story.
I needed Africa Oyé today. For various reasons to do with this being a blog and not a diary I needed the healing joy that this free festival has been bringing to my life for well over 20 years now. These have been tough weeks and it was time for some time for me.
I really liked them. Third song into their set it felt like the park itself started to move. Undulating the way it always does when Africa Oyé gets underway.At this point though, I decided to go and dry off for a bit.
When I got back to the park the rain was stopping and the place was filling up.And the next people on stage were all young – and from Liverpool.
The place erupted for them. And I wasn’t the only kindly adult in the audience with fond tears in his eyes.
In truth, as you’ve seen already, it often rains at Africa Oyé, midsummer though it be. But in our collective memories the Festival takes place in endless summers of halcyon sunny days. Gorgeous music playing to a field full of hazy, happy and sometimes dancing people.
By now the music is sounding like liquid sunshine, just as well it’s sunny then.
Next, and now a welcome fixture at all quality Liverpool events, the Movema tent.
Africa Oyé has done what I came for, like I knew it would. I love this place so much, the magic village that appears in Sefton Parkfor one weekend every year like a Midsummer Dream.
And to finish Day One, a little bit of the sound of Bamako, from the BKO Quintet.
Next, Day Two. Sunny again, mostly, on the Sunday. As I arrive Liverpool’s own Beatlife, together with Anfield Samba Kids, are on the stage.
Then, after much talking with friends, the field seems blissfully full of them, I wander over to the Movema tent, where they’re always up to something interesting.
That’s 23 years of Africa Oyés now and I’ve been to every one. Thank you, all of you who organise them, perform at them, run things at them and turn up at them. A great city, my city, at its very best.