MP on tour, or not

Lake of Stars Festival – Nkopola Lodge, Malawi

I spent my afternoon in Lilongwe sorting out a sim card and buying a towel, stopping at Ali Baba’s for a kebab before falling asleep on my hotel bed at about 5pm. Something about the four flights that morning I guess. I woke up and packed my stuff then headed out to get the bus to Nkopola. It was laid on for all the timid first-time in Malawi festival goers but I opted for the luxury over the local bus.
A lot of the punters were having trouble adapting to Malawi time and were getting particularly frustrated with not getting a straight answer on how long it would take to get down to the lake. I did lots of quiet chuckling to myself when I heard “But you said it was an hour away two hours ago”. After stopping at Sun ‘n’ Sand and Boadzulu on the way, we finally made it to Nkopola about 9 at night and I threw on my pack and trudged the 2km down the beach to the campsite. There weren’t many people there so I pitched my tent down towards the beach. Time spent practising putting up the tent came in handy and I was impressed with how it looked in the morning.

The next morning, after photographing my handiwork and having a cold shower, I headed over to the main festival area, back towards Nkopola. The beach was still empty. This is the area in front of the main stage with the sound desk on the right.

I walked up to the main lodge to sample the luxury and pay too much for an ice-cold beer.

By the time I got back, a local Marimba band had started playing.

A few hours later in the afternoon the festival was officialy opened.The highlight was when the Minister for Tourism parachuted onto the beach to declare the festival open.

Formalities out of the way, the festival began. Friday night featured local bands mostly and to my mind was the best night of the festival. I’m not a music critic so I won’t rite too much about the music, suffice it to say that African bands put all they have into playing their music and the effect on the crowd is contagious. I made it back to my tent at about 3am Saturday morning.

The sun forced me to vacate my tent around 7:30 and I was pleased to discover that Nkopola was putting on breakfast. I made a home made sausage and egg muffin and drank 2 cups of strong coffee before heading out to face the day again. I spent a fair bt of Saturday morning reading and dozing on sunloungers around the lodge before rousing myself again about 5 when the music started up again.

Saturday night was the first performance by the headline UK act the Noisettes. They played an energetic set that really got the crowd moving

They were joined on stage by a Zimbabwean dancer at one point

and the lead singer wasn’t shy about climbing the stage

or venturing out onto the hands of the crowd. I have no idea of the quality of this video I’m afraid, it was enough of a mission trying to upload it, let alone try and watch it. Shot with my point ‘n’ click camera.

Noisettes at Lake of Stars 2010

Once again I didn’t get back to my tent until about 3am. My lone tent had now been joined by 10 or 20 more and one of them had obviously angered an ants’ nest. I spent the night being crawled upon by the little buggers but was tired enough to sleep anyway.

The next day followed pretty much the same pattern and the festival closed with some great African music followed by UK djs. I had applied about half a can of the local insect repellent DOOM to my tent so this night was mostly ant-free.

The DJs were still going when I got up to pack at 6:30 the next morning. After a coffee and a few goodbyes I headed out ith pack on back to try and find a ride to Monkey Bay to get the pickup to Cape Macler. I was in luck as I came across a bunch of travellers with a car going all the way to Cape Maclear.

Despite all the other roads in the country being in much better condition than when I lived here previopusly, the Cape Maclear road is the same as it ever was, all potholes and corrugations. I’m glad I managed to avoid the pickup. Within two hours of leaving the festival I was sat at the new bar at Fat Monkeys drinking a green…

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