UMI (which means MOTHER in Arabic) is not only an annual creative funhouse hosted at Victoria Yards but it is also the mother of #FeelGoodSeries, a monthly platform for live performance music and DJs. Feel Good Series is celebrated for being a platform for fresh and emerging faces of music.
The festival is aptly titled OUR MUSIC FESTIVAL because it features a community-curated line-up, where you get to request the return of 2020 & 2021 artists as well as new acts.
In this exclusive interview, GQ caught up with the event’s organizer Nandi Dlepu aka Mamakashaka to give us intel on the upcoming UMI Our Music Festival, the intention behind the festival and what you should look forward to.
GQ: Briefly tell us the history of the UMI Our Music Festival?
Nandi Dlepu: UMI was launched in 2019 and is positioned as the “mother” of the Feel-Good Series (Umi means mother in Arabic). The festival is everything our community has come to love and enjoy at our monthly live performance parties but BIGGER. A 12-hour experience with more DJs and more live performance acts and this year the festival will feature a fashion pop-up as well as Instagrammable installations.
GQ: What was the intention behind starting this movement?
Nandi Dlepu: Feel Good Series is all about sharing TOMORROWS MUSIC TODAY and a longer event and line up by way of our festival keeps us a brand of its word. UMI is a 112hour experience that features some of the best in emerging musical talent.
GQ: How do you narrow down the selection of the artists that will play at the festival?
Nandi Dlepu: The OUR in Our Music Festival means exactly that! Ahead of each festival, we’ve asked our followers to let us know who they would like to see again as well as which new acts they’d like to have a play or perform at the festival.
Almost half of our line-up has been curated in response to this call to action. The community selection is balanced with our own festival picks, these are artists that we have had on our radar and shortlisted during the course of the previous year as definite features.
GQ: What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming festival?
Nandi Dlepu: We are just excited to be back! We didn’t get to host our 2021 edition and we are able to get back to building a platform and provide an experience that features incredible talents like Muzi, Una Rams, Filah Lah-Lah, Wandile Mbambeni, and many others is all the excitement we need.
GQ: Where do you see UMI Our Music Festival in the next 5 years?
Nandi Dlepu: Our intention is to build an inclusive and world-class festival experience that not only features local and international favourites but one that prioritizes emerging musical talent. By year 5 UMI Our Music Festival should be a festival destination in the same way the likes of Afropunk have become for our mutual audience.
You obviously don’t want to miss the third instalment of the UMI Feel Good Series, click here to purchase your ticket now.