THE BENEATH THE BAOBABS STORY
The story of Beneath the Baobabs began seven years ago when the Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers crew produced their first small electronic music party known as ‘Kilifi New Year Festival’ on a Beach Volleyball court. The event soon grew to become a multi day festival, offering a diverse line-up and ever evolving creative production each year.
The festival exploded in popularity and outgrew its original location on the Kilifi Creek. The team, vision and dreams also expanded and a new home was found in an ancient Baobab forest plateau at the source of the Takaungu Creek. Beneath the Baobabs was born – a destination event space run by seasoned dreamers, artists and producers and also the newfound home for Beneath the Baobabs Festival (formerly known as Kilifi New Year).
A DESTINATION VENUE
BtB is now a one of a kind concealed event space, with secret orange and lemon groves, ancient baobab trees and spectacular views over the treetops to the creek. Building with the natural environment allowed for the founding of our now iconic Main Stage, set to the backdrop of one of the bigger Baobab trees on site. From this central location, pathways and viewing decks carve out routes to the most intimate corners of the site.
Infrastructure to host up to 10,000 people
Built with passion and care for the natural environment from the outset and a Leave No Trace approach to all events, Beneath the Baobabs is ready to safely host up to 10,000 people. The site can operate up to 5 unique stages and bars, hundreds of square meters of overhanging decking in the shade of a 2000 year old majestic Baobab and all the other infrastructure required for a very successful event.
FOUR YEARS ON
After four years of constant creative evolution and growth on this magical 50 acre playground, we now have a fully functioning event space at everyone’s disposal – it has become clear that there’s much more that Beneath the Baobabs has to offer the creative communities of East Africa!
OUR MISSION AND VISION
Our mission is one of transformation and inspiration, through uniting people of all backgrounds, by providing a safe platform, even for the most marginalised of communities, to enjoy established and emerging East African Music, Art, Performance and Wellness, whilst learning how to live more consciously and sustainably. Our mission is to continue to build and forge partnerships with promoters, event organisers, community leaders, conscious businesses, workshop and retreat facilitators to grow the impact of Beneath the Baobabs vision and values.
Our vision is to create a proudly Kenyan destination event site, uniting people of all backgrounds by providing a safe platform fostering creativity, consciousness, community, and freedom of expression; while showcasing East African music, art and culture.
Mtu Ni Watu
All are welcome at Beneath the Baobabs, regardless of colour, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. We hold a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, hatred or bias. Everybody belongs. We are One Family. We are all Distant Relatives.
“We’re incredibly proud to partner with Beneath the Baobabs to offset their carbon footprint with the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. By being conscious of their events’ potential impact on the environment, they are protecting Kenyan forests, and also being advocates for climate change mitigation. Thank you!”
Mindfulness, Consciousness and Transformation
We strive to bring people into a space of mindful awareness, self-exploration, and self-acceptance through wellness retreats and workshops as well as an ever growing space dedicated to holistic practices at our events. Beneath the Baobabs was designed as a space for talks, discussions, therapies, art, performance and movement – it is a space for human connection, peace, creativity, mutual understanding and grey matter stimulation!
Music, Art and Freedom of Expression
Beneath the Baobabs encourages everyone to make room and allow for authentic expression through the mediums of music, dance and art. Our events and retreats showcase the most exciting talents from across the region, whilst encouraging the art of participation and immersion within an event or retreat.
Community and Participation
Community is the cornerstone which binds us together. Beneath the Baobabs is a proudly Kenyan event site, assembled by our community as a whole.
Envisioned as a space where all can coexist and contribute whatever skills or resources are on offer, in order to build meaningful collective experiences. Our hope is that community spirit and participation can help forge connections beyond BtB, into wider community culture.
All that we do at Beneath the Baobabs is guided by making choices of love rather than fear.
As an event site and production company designed to have minimal environmental impact and maximum social impact, there is always room for growth – this is why we like to call Beneath the Baobabs an experimental model of conscious living.
Each year, we try to improve how we do things to minimize our impact on the planet. With environmental partners such as Komaza and Wildlife Works, Beneath the Baobabs has been able to build from sustainable forestry and to Carbon Offset recent events. Our showers only allow greywater-friendly soaps and feed into banana and papaya circles. All art and building projects use upcycled materials or source those locally and sustainably with a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle approach at all times. Single use plastics are banned and glass containers are only allowed if suppliers collect and reuse their bottles. Our dry eco-toilet design allows us to reduce water usage, avoids aquifer pollution risks and improves our soil quality year after year.
Our Permaculture gardens and food forest will allow us to grow some of our own food in years to come and thanks to our in-house indigenous tree nursery, we hope to progressively replace invasive and non-indegenous plant species across the 50 acre site.
Along with our friends at the Green Heart of Kenya, we hope to better protect the pristine surrounding valley alongside the local community.
Beneath the Baobabs Festival also has a huge and ever-growing economic impact for the Kilifi community as a whole from direct employment, to suppliers of accommodation, food, beverage, transport and much more. Working hand in hand with the Kilifi County Government, we are working together efficiently to attract more beautiful people to the pristine tropical destination that is Kilifi, while doing all we can to protect the land and wonderful community. We are always ready to collaborate on projects which extend our reach environmentally, or our social impact, or any project which aligns with our core values of Inclusivity, Sustainability, Community and Creativity.
Just like anywhere else in the world, the creative economy in East Africa is struggling. There is a scarcity of opportunity for creatives to earn from their talents and endeavours. The Covid-19 hiatus has forced us to review our scope and to model a number of new offerings for our community of artists and creatives in East Africa.
Beneath the Baobabs is now available to all and is now part of a wider creative development of the region, rather than just a home to our own events. We are seeing a significant movement of creatives from urban centres relocating to the coast. We are excited to offer a Safe Space for these beautiful people to come together, co-create and thrive from their beloved work. We are reinventing ourselves and adapting as we build for a positive future! We hope that Beneath the Baobabs can be integral in representing and supporting many emerging and established East-African subcultures for decades to come! Karibuni nyumbani! Welcome Home!
Our goal is to grow a thriving world class destination event space, which not only creates great experiences for audiences, but also a welcome flow of opportunity for creatives and many new livelihood streams for locals.
Welcome to our first monthly editorial for the new Beneath The Baobabs website! 2020 was a rollercoaster ride that has called for us to slow down and visualize an exciting future full of opportunities for cultural development in Kilifi, Kenya.
Our amazing team at Beneath The Baobabs have had a tough 2020, with the disappointment of no major festival, no income to speak of and constantly shifting goalposts to deal with. However, hard work and reflection have allowed us to prevent Covid from smothering our efforts, as we create new concepts to support our community throughout the year. 2021 is shaping up to be much more than one event!