It’s that time of year when surrealism and discovery go hand in hand, as spectacular musical inspirations meet artistic interventions in the most otherworldly fashion. Now coming to life for the sixth consecutive year, one of the most highly anticipated annual events returns stronger than ever, set to totally transform Kornos forest into an energetic hub of creativity, where norms are shunned, and a brilliant touch of magic draws crowds into a vibrant parallel universe where anything and everything is possible!
Taking place over the weekend of August 19th and 20th, the Afro Banana Republic (ABR) Festival will see high calibre international bands and DJs arrive on the island to play alongside a handpicked selection of the island’s finest musicians, as an explosive kaleidoscope of sounds combines with dreamy aesthetics and rousing creative performances.
With the Afro Banana Republic team comprised of a wide mix of forward thinking creative talents - from graphic designers, photographers and architects, to music producers, set designers and film producers, the festival bears the creative stamp of the well known ABR Alternative Brains Rule non-profit organisation, dedicated to creating a wide variety of high quality experiential events with a focus on innovation, inspiration and self-expression.
With four different music stages, festival-goers will have the chance to lose themselves in varied environments with captivating music from all far flung corners of the world, from Afrobeat rhythms, world music, jazz, soul, hip-hop and reggae, to funk and post funk, disco, techno, house and much more.
With countless highlights on this year’s agenda, the pioneering Heliocentrics will be wowing crowds with classic and raw Afrobeat, arriving to work their magic ‘In the Woods’ with Nigerian legend, Orlando Julius. The return of the London based Family Atlantica is also highly anticipated, following a phenomenal performance at the festival two years ago. Having now released their new Cosmic Unity album, their intense live show has conquered countless stages across Europe, now ready to unleash their electrifying energy at the ABR festival.
The arrival of Angolan/Portuguese Batida (Pedro Coquenao) is also a real highlight of this year’s agenda. Having performed just about everywhere from Glastonbury to Roskilde, Pitch, Eurosonic and Babel Womad Festival, he now descends on the ABR festival with an inspiring musical ensemble, set to tantalise crowds with Semba, Kuduro, Afro house, electronic dance music, Afrobeat and hip hop.
The UK’s sensational Electric Jalaba are also going to be giving audiences a real treat, with an electrifying live set mixing Gnawa, electronic/experimental dance music, West African, Sahara/desert Blues and psych rock. And for all those who fell in love with the tantalising performance by The Apples last year, their producer will be joining crowds once again with his band Cut n Bass band straight from Tel Aviv.
In line with the festival ethos of pushing boundaries beyond the norm, the beloved ‘In the Box’ stage has been rather aptly renamed ‘Out of the Box’ this year, set to keep crowds on their toes all night long, at this open-air stage, with big names from the electronic music scene arriving for the event including Delta Funktionen from the Netherlands, the Berlin based Cassegrain, the Italian born Dutch based MA Spaventi and more.
The best of local talent will also be gracing the ABR Festival with their presence, with live acts including the Afro Mpanda Banana, an explosive nine-member band fusing African and Latin beats with the euphoric melodies of western jazz funk beats, while other local bands and DJs stepping into the limelight include the super cool FUNKASTIC 11, Sandy Brour, Cusack, Pueblo Franco and many more.
But it’s not just about the brilliant sound of music at the ABR Festival, with great attention also placed on creating a totally immersive occasion in every way possible. “This year, even more emphasis has been given to people’s experiences, with a beautiful community feel,” explain the organizers. “With strong collaborations that have preceded the event - featuring a variety of local and foreign talents - the festival is now more enriched and action packed than ever, with a focus not just on night time activities, but plenty of day time inspiration and fun.”
A wide variety of interactive creative projects will be fostering this truly immersive experience, from thrilling theatrics with Paravan Proactions, surprise artistic endeavors with Simone Philippou, live music recording sessions with Louvana records and artistic interventions born out of a one month ABR IN LAB residency. With the ABR Radio now stronger than ever, unconventional radio shows with local and international performers will be adding to the buzz throughout the day, all under the stunning SSPM Pavilion; the final outcome of an inspirational young designer’s competition.
A wide variety of food and refreshments will be giving festival goers a treat, with tantalising sweet and savoury delights to satiate taste buds dished up by select stalls and some of the island’s best eateries, while special cocktails have been created by professional mixologists especially for the occasion. Those wishing to make the most of the two day event with an overnight stay in the pine clad forest can now also enjoy a larger upgraded camp site with more amenities at hand than previous years, set to make the whole festival experience a truly unforgettable one.
Larnaka district, Cyprus
Website: www.afrobananarepublic.com, www.facebook.com/TheAfroBananaRepublic
Entrance: 20 Euros for a single day, and 30 Euros for two days. Free entrance for childer under 12 years old.
(Camping Per Tent - 2 Euros for a single day, and 3 Euros for two days. Camping per Caravan – 10 Euros for two days.)
Festival dates: Friday & Saturday, 19 & 20 August 2016.
Gates open at 14:00 on August 19th and close at 14:00 on August 21st.
My Guide website?