I started seriously listening to Power FM in 2009. I had discovered it earlier in 2004 while using a scanner radio but had stopped listening somewhere along the way. I remember the very first time I listened to the breakfast show which back then was known as ‘Go’ , it was only Ben and Pablo on air. I enjoyed their stupid banter. Ben’s seriousness, political rants, reminiscing about high school and complaints about bachelorhood. Pablo’s ability to make light of every situation. The listener’s joy when they called in every morning to say who their happy person was. It was silly. It was addictive. It was perfect.
Later that year, Power FM started announcing that they were celebrating ten years. Ten years!!! Can you imagine?! And I had just discovered this gem of a radio station. I remember that Phatfest like it was just yesterday. It was in September when the semester had just began and a girl still had some money. On top of that, the Faculty Allowance had just come through so I even got myself a Power FM T-shirt. I remember succeeding in convincing my sister who wasn’t a big fan of church and its activities to actually come with me for Phatfest.
The headlining artist was Emmanuel Jal, a Swedish based former child-soldier whose music I had totally fallen in love with by listening to Power FM. As much as most people’s favourite was ‘skirt too short’ and it was also the first of his songs I had ever heard, my favourite Emmanuel Jal song was and still is ‘Bakiwara’. Oh but how I was excited for Emmanuel Jal!!! Wololo, even my heart still does a little jump at the memory. Phatfest wasn’t my first concert ever in life, but it was the first time I was seeing that many gospel artists in one place which was neither church nor a crusade. It was the first time I was seeing a lot of the music that I had grown to love come to life right before me. Words could not explain my delight! Just like that, Phatfest became that event that I made sure I saved money for. I made sure I made plans for.
I remember walking with a bunch of people, most of them strangers who were headed to Kyambogo University as I was . Seeing as it was past midnight, there were hardly any no taxis going our direction from Kyadondo rugby club. I remember a kind stranger with a van took us from Nakawa to Banda for the small price of 500 ugx (yes, we still had to pay) and we squeezed ourselves into the car, as in some people sat on others’ laps. I remember it starting to drizzle as we approached campus and seeing a guy take off his shirt and give it to the girl he was with to cover her hair with as he continued on in a vest. I wonder if that was his girlfriend. I wonder if they went on to get married later. 🙂
It was at one of those Phatfests that I got to meet in person Ruyonga, one of my favourite rappers of all time. It was at Phatfest that I got myself a Michelle Bonilla autograph. It was at Phatfest that I saw Isaac Blackman in person (you guys!!! The dreadlocks are all his and they are so long!). It was at Phatfest that I stood about two metres from the stage as Pompi spoke about Purpose and just resonated with my heart, as he sang songs I had had on replay since I had discovered his music earlier that year. I almost cried even. It was at Phatfest that I stood in the rain because there was no way I was leaving before final act of the night. Oh Phatfest, what to say and what to leave out.
It has been six plus years of an excellently organized concert each year competing with the one before in creativity, artist selection, hype and just overall execution. Phatfest, you have been my love for a great many years and 10th December cannot come soon enough. I am excited for the grand return after a year off to plan and ensure that you deliver as you always have. I am already signing up people for the different games of the day. What they don’t know is that I as Team Manager will probably just be the glucose guardian of the day but what they don’t know won’t kill them. #Phatfest16 holds a lot of promise for this young lady who hasn’t been to one in a really long time. I even have plans of finding out if adults are allowed on bouncing castles or that Mirinda( or was it Fanta) advert lied to us.
I’ve got stunners, friends, sneakers, ticket…You name it!!!! Hahaha 10th December, arrive already.