Lake of Stars returns to Lake Malawi! 26 to 28 September – keep an eye on here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.
If you want to perform, volunteer, attend or partner with us just get in touch with us here.
City of Stars 2013
City of Stars was our 10 year anniversary event that took place in September 2013. An exciting two-day, multi-venue arts festival and conference that showcased the best in emerging and acclaimed talent from Malawi and beyond. It featured an eclectic programme of live music, film, theatre, exhibitions and speakers. It promoted Malawian culture and creativity as well as attracting international artists and arts practitioners.
Why City of Stars?
In 2012 we took a break from producing Lake of Stars to develop new ways to enhance and promote the music, culture and tourism of Malawi, based on our experience and that of local practitioners. We also secured a state-of-the-art sound system for Malawi that is being used by music charity Rhythm of Life in Lilongwe. We have always felt, as have many of the festival’s international visitors, that the two things that make Lake of Stars such a unique festival were its location and the people of Malawi. We feel that now is the time to celebrate 10 years of Malawian creativity by focusing on the second of these. We’ll do this by upping the reach and the accessibility of the project, by bringing the experience off the shore and into the city of Lilongwe, the international gateway to the Warm Heart of Africa. This year we are fortunate to have the support of a number of new funding partners, including the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi’s Latitude 13 hotel and Scotland’s David Livingstone 200 Fund. We are also working with Malawian artistic partners including Zilanie Nyundo (Fashion Malawi Edition and CREAM Women in the Arts), Music Crossroads and Rhythm of Life.
About the project
Lake of Stars promotes Malawian arts and tourism through international interaction and exposure. We organise festivals on the shores of Lake Malawi and in Malawi’s capital of Lilongwe, and run events in Europe and across Africa.
Will Jameson set up the Lake of Stars Project in 2003 to encourage international tourism to Malawi, taking inspiration from events like WOMAD and Glastonbury. The project uses cultural tourism to generate revenue and exposure for Malawi.
The project was born from a desire to raise money for a developing economy, help promote Malawi as a tourist destination and expose Malawian artists to an international audience.
Will Jameson first visited Malawi in 1998 when he worked in Dwangwa as a volunteer with the Wildlife Society for 6 months. During that time he travelled to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. On returning to England Will took with him a souvenir – an empty carton of Chibuku Shake Shake beer. Half way through university at Liverpool John Moores he decided to start a clubnight with friends. They named the night after the Malawian beer and went on to win Best UK Club in the Mixmag Awards in 2004.
It was in this same year that Will launched the first Lake of Stars Festival, headlined by Chibuku favourite Andy Cato from Groove Armada. The festival attracted dozens of people from Europe and hundreds attended from all over Malawi and Southern Africa. It won the Malawi Tourism Award in its first year and has grown to become one of the best known African festivals on the global circuit.
For eight of the project’s ten years the festival has been set on the shimmering, palm-fringed shores of Lake Malawi. Malawian and international artists gather for a musical, social and cultural exchange in a festival location like no other. The festival acts as the focal point when travelling around this beautiful country, forming part of an itinerary spanning all that Malawi has to offer.
After taking a break from the festival in 2012 to support local initiatives the project returns this year with City of Stars, a brand new arts festival and conference taking place in Lilongwe on 27 and 28 September that will showcase the best in emerging and acclaimed talent from Malawi and beyond. More information can be found here.
2011 Festival figures
- 200million people exposed through the media to a positive Malawian story
- $1.6million generated spend by the festival
- $500,000 Advertising Value Equivalent
- 6000+ Friends on Facebook
- 3800 People in attendance
- 414 Performers
- 200+ Employment opportunities created
- 160 Volunteers
- 88 Artistic acts
- 87 hours of entertainment
- 30+ Nationalities in attendance
- 13 Countries with participating artists
- 5 Chinese classical artists
- 3 Day road trip of two bands from Cape Town
- 2 Japanese tap dancers
- 1 Incredible weekend
2013 - 10th Anniversary of the Lake of Stars Project
2012 - Malawi AV Equipment Project
‘Top 20 Festivals in the World’ according to the Independent
‘9th Best Festival in the World’ according to British Airways’ Horizon magazine
‘Known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ because of the incredibly friendly and welcoming locals, combined with a rich musical history, Malawi couldn’t be a better place to hold a festival. There’s a bit of planning involved in getting to Lake Of Stars but a paradise awaits when you arrive.’ – Virtual Festivals
‘…the life-affirming Lake of Stars offers a fascinating opportunity to experience the musical pulse of this inspiring country.’ – David Taylor, The Independent
‘This has been a life changing experience for all us…come here for the people, come for the music, come for the famous Malawian hospitality, come here for that lake…just make sure that you come here soon.’
- Jo Good, MTV/BBC6Music
‘…be ahead of the crowd and get acquainted with Malawian music in situ…great music, friendly people, and a beautiful location. Get there before everyone else does’
- Simon Broughton, Songlines/Wanderlust
‘The annual Lake of Stars festival is bringing international flair to Malawi’s palm-fringed shores’
- Mari McCloy, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
‘…truly, it changed my life’ - Paul MacInnes, The Guardian
Lonely Planet: ‘The tourist brochures bill Malawi as ‘the warm heart of Africa’, and for once the hype is true. Malawi’s scenery is gorgeous and varied and Malawians are extremely friendly toward travellers.’
‘In today’s saturated festival climate Lake of Stars is utterly unique. It redefines the festival experience as we know it…there isn’t another festival like this on the planet’
- Rahul Verma, The Metro