Early Tuesday, one of the top trending subjects on social media was the Sol Fest concert.
On Twitter(X), there were 2000 tweets tagging the festival by 10 am. The source of controversy? A particularly interesting concert poster, which split attendees between ‘VIPs’ and ‘Fans’.
The banner, which was uploaded on the official social media handles for Solfest Africa and Sauti Sol, advertised a ‘VIP’ show on November 2 and a ‘fans’ show on November 4.
“Curtain call, see you at SolFest 2023,” the caption on Instagram read.
Followers expressed their confusion, writing hundreds of comments within a day of the announcement.
“What’s the difference between VIP and Fan show? Elaborate we know where to find ourselves,” wrote one Instagram user going by the name Shompa.
“So fan show haitakuwa na VIP tickets? Hapo mme tu confuse,” wrote another.
Memes and jokes ruled the day on Twitter(X), where social media users poked humour at the possible differences between the VIP and Fan shows.
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Others took it more seriously, even calling it a form of segregation.
“Sauti Sol upcoming event has just reminded of apartheid in SA where blacks were required to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and contact between the two groups would be limited but in the case the difference is financial status,” wrote one X user.
Another wrote: “Yani sauti sol wameamua kuseparate the rich and the poor hivo tu am not happy,” suggesting that the boy band was giving a different treatment to richer audiences.
Faarah Nur, the Managing Director for PitchR Agency, which has been involved in some of the communications work for the event, told The Standard Entertainment that the intent of the separate dates did not mean any less of an experience for Solfest attendees.
“The 2nd November date is just like any other Solfest you’ve seen in the past. There are going to be multiple acts and it’s just going to be a good time like it always is,” Faarah said on a phone call.
He added: “The VIP experience- I can’t tell you too much, but it will be an intimate experience and might have a bit more Sauti Sol. Because last time people complained that they didn’t get to see the band, so that’s something we are hoping to improve.”
The communications executive however said he could not disclose more since planning is still ongoing.
“In terms of the VIP show, this is still being fleshed out, and nothing is set in stone, but what’s for sure is how intimate it’s going to be.”
The first edition of Sol Fest took place in 2021 at the Carnivore Grounds, where thousands of people attended.
Sauti Sol vocalist Bien-Aime Baraza spoke about the success of the event at the time, applauding how supportive Kenyans are towards local art and music.
“Sol Fest happened and we had 6,000 people in attendance. We couldn’t sell any more tickets because it would have been unreasonable for the experience considering the location and the capacity it could hold,” he said.
The celebrated artiste added: “The proof is in the pudding. We have shown that Kenyans are all about supporting Kenyan music. Kenyans are happier when they come out for a night to enjoy what is theirs.”
The artiste and DJ line-up for this year’s festival is yet to be announced, as more information continues to be released closer to the dates.