It takes a village to raise a child, and in this context- the child is Kilifi New Year. Buckets and barrels of teamwork and collaboration are required to efficiently pull off this annual fete, an enchanting 3-day festival celebrating the space between one year and the next, betwixt 1000-year-old baobabs and secret citrus orchards. The festival is constructed and run through the labor of the local community and volunteers, all structures are handmade by local artists and artisans, utilizing organic materials such as wood, grass, palm leaves, banana leaves, and recycled materials.
A clear example of the symbiotic mutualism is Kilifi New Year’s partnership with Tarpo, a company which specializes in soft roof shelter spaces. Tarpo provides on-site accommodation during the festival and for any retreats or conferences or summits that occur on the Beneath the Baobabs site year round.
Beneath The Baobabs hosted last year’s SandBox Global Summit. An annual meet-up of trailblazers that unites a community of young entrepreneurs and challenges them to build a better world. Tarpo’s expertise allowed them to have the best functional equipment to give the Sandbox guests an exceptional experience in the heart of the seemingly jungle-like surroundings. Over a 9 day period, they set up 90 accommodation tents that included solar showers, drop toilets and lighting solutions.
“Working with KNY has been a thrilling experience. A lot of time and effort goes into planning and making sure the festival is a success and their passion for it can be felt. As Tarpo, we love what we do and we know camping. It’s nice to have an event partner who matches our drive. Their passion = our passion. Their drive = our drive.”
-Martha, Assistant Events Co-ordinator at Tarpo.
For a festival like Kilifi New Year where so many different aspects come into play, partnerships tend to lighten the load and make things go a lot smoother. Regarding Kilifi New Year’s partnership with Distant Relatives, Distant Relatives provides off-site accommodation for festival revelers who seek the luxury and warmth that The Eco-lodge & Backpackers has to offer. Distant Relatives also hosts a handful of parties and events in the days building up to the festival so that revelers and adventure seekers who arrive a few days before the festival officially begins, can lavish in the good music and delectable pizzas, courtesy of Distant Relatives, as well as sneak a peek of what’s in store for them in the days to come.
“Distant Relatives and Kilifi New Year are more like sisters than partners. This is because Kilifi New Year began at Distant Relatives, therefore it’s built on the same ethos and intentions as Distant Relatives which is to unite different people in an environment of consciousness. Music is a great unifying tool which can break language & social barriers. As the festival has grown too big for Distant Relatives, it’s great that it has found a new home at Beneath The Baobabs. We shall continue to share resources, and blossom together.
We offer Festival tickets to our guests and in turn, we benefit from the influx of Festival goers who seek a warm Distant Relatives experience. Furthermore, we provide free accomodation to Kilifi New Year partners and in exchange, Distant Relatives staff get complimentary Festival tickets. At the end of the day, we inspire each other and what’s good for The Festival is also good for The Backpackers.”
-Mwanase, General Manager at Distant Relatives.
Komaza is a forestry company that partners with smallhold farmers in Kenya to plant trees for sale as sustainable wood products. They also provide *ALMOST* all the wood that went into constructing the festival, as well as the 20-meter tall structure which as per Kilifi New Year tradition, burns on January 1st at midnight. Last year’s effigy was of a man in a rhino mask, in honor of Sudan: the last male Northern White Rhino.
Barefoot Solutions offers permaculture design solutions that are both financially viable and ecologically sound, thus- they designed the festival according to the 12 principles of permaculture, all of which stand in harmony with nature and sustainable living while striving to do the least harm to Mother Earth. Barefoot Solutions designed the permaculture garden which boasts of various kinds of herbs and vegetables, and plans are underway to transform the 25-acre Beneath The Baobabs site into a luscious fruit garden.
“It’s awesome that Barefoot’s effort and work can be shared with the special community that the festival brings. The like-minded people that are attracted to the festival can now also learn more about what Barefoot stands for and hopefully get involved and start their own permaculture journey too.”
-Ivan, Co-founder at Barefoot Solutions.
To slam the hammer down on why partnership and collaboration are crucial towards building and sustaining a festival like Kilifi New Year, Kilifi New Year’s partnership with MUZE is a special one because MUZE/ADA Creative Studios take on the role of A&R’s hence scouting and suggesting local talent for the Kilifi New Year line-up and in turn, giving up and coming artists a platform to shine.
Additionally, MUZE installs the lighting for Kilifi New Year and last year, aided in the facilitation of a Lighting Engineering Course that saw 20 people receive Festival Standard Lighting Certification, at no cost nor fee.
“Developing successful partnerships are what make any emerging creative business successful. The ability to plug your own concept into a wider community not only offers you a host of new possible platforms and experiences but also helps develop the community being built.”
-Matt, Proprietor, MUZE.
Partnerships mean more than financial gain, these collaborations foster off of friendship and mutual symbiotic benefit; a barter trade of resources where each party uses the other as a stepping stone, propping each other up in the process. Proving that there is a seat at the table for you and all your friends, one doesn’t have to sit alone.