Blankets, Wine, Mafikizolo and umbrellas

(Kui Gitei) The 29th Edition of the elite outdoor event Blankets and Wine took place last Sunday, amid overcast weather that did little to dampen the spirits of the determined crowd.

Traffic on Lang’ata road was heavy from as early as noon. Picnickers arrived in droves to be entertained by the star studded line-up that included local afro-fusion band Aziza, singer Maia and the headliners, South African band Mafikizolo.

Blankets and Wine proprietor Muthoni the Drummer Queen, who was celebrating her birthday on the same day, also performed.

The crowd, as usual, was an eclectic mix of socialites, where the ladies certainly dressed to impress. Whole families arrived early to book the choice seating of couches already set under the tents. Others carried barbeque equipment ready to cook their lunch on site. (That’s growth right there).

Those who chose to buy their food there were spoilt for choice; everything from burgers, ribs and milkshakes were being sold by various food proprietors.

Aziza and Muthoni were first on stage with uber-energetic performances. Unfortunately during Maia’s performance at about 4pm, the skies opened after threatening to do so for hours, forcing a mad scramble for any available shelter.

This put quite a lull on the event, and people seemed perturbed when the rain did not desist for just over an hour.

Just after 5pm, Mafikizolo came on stage and the effect on the crowd was incredible. Armed with umbrellas the crowd forged to the front and the duo, backed by their dancers, kept the crowd on their feet for the entire duration of their hour-long performance.

They performed hits from their new album Six Mabone but it was the old favourite Ndihamba Nawe (recently voted song of the decade at last year’s South African Metro FM Awards) that got everyone in a frenzy, getting not one, but three encores!

The band led the audience in the shuffle to that song (quite a spectacular sight) and the crowd was well enthralled.

The free Redds and Castle beers being offered by a bunch of lovely ladies helped uplift the mood tremendously, enhancing Mafikizolo’s first-rate performance.

There was still a tangible excitement in the air as the event wound down and most of the crowd made their way to Club Volar for the after party.

Blankets and Wine takes place the first Sunday of every month. With the approximate thousand-strong crowd in attendance, it is clearly Nairobi’s premiere outdoor event.

Previous performers at the event include Thandiswa, T.I.D, among others. Acts expected in the coming months include South African diva Lira and at some point there were rumours of neo-soul Grammy award winning singer Maxwell coming down as well.

But even with local entertainment, it’s definitely an excursion worth noting on your calendar, permanently.

NB: Pictures by Paul Munene. See more pictures here.

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