Baia das Gatas Festival – A Perfect Introduction to Cape Verde
Last year two members of the Postmark team – Isabella and Ade – planned their 2016 holiday to Cape Verde. The dates had been strategically selected to coincide with that year’s Baia das Gatas festival; what we described as ‘better than Glastonbury (the premier annual 3-day music festival in England; it tends to rain every year, even though it’s held in the summer!); with better music and no mud’.
Baia das Gatas provides a platform for Cape Verdean musicians to do what they do best – serenade their country in song! All styles and ages of musicians, from revered veterans of the traditional Morna genre, to new Rap and Kizomba stars had a captive and appreciative audience, made up of revellers aged months old to 70! Depending on the song, the audience swayed together; danced cheek to cheek to kizomba, or gyrated to Funana and Batuka tunes.
As with previous editions of the festival, the headline act was an international big name. This is a country that, in addition to a love for its own music, has an enduring love of Reggae; the previous year had seen Reggae Royalty Morgan Heritage take to the stage as the last group on at 3 a.m., to a still-packed arena. This year, it was German Reggae superstar, Gentleman, who delivered in fine style.
When whipped up into an excited mass of leaping and gyrating throng, it was all you could do to stand; and we frequently found ourselves carried along physically by the strength of the response. We held onto each other at each crescendo, leaping up in unison with about 85,000 mainly good-natured fans. We were united by the love of music and country; and felt at one with the crowd. A large part of the festival’s attraction lies in the fact that the artists who appear come from a wide range of countries across the world, speak and sing in many different languages and cater for a huge variety of styles. So, in a few day’s time, we are off to Mindelo to join in this year’s fun.
The festival is a perfect way to enjoy this beautiful and friendly country and runs from 11 to 13 August.
Where to stay
Forget the big hotels there are dozens of small boutique and family run places to stay. Our favourites are: Casa Colonial and Kira’s in Mindelo.
Eating Out CV style
Cape Verdeans have lots of passions and food is high up on the list, be adventurous, try everything! To get you started we recommend you definitely visit Chez Loutcha (both the one in Mindelo and, at the weekend, the one at the beachside at Calhau.
Get into the Festival Groove
Listen to the biggest carnival tune of the year.
Fit your vacation around the Baia das Gatas Festival; you won’t regret it and you won’t forget it. Tell Cape Verde AfricanPostmark sent you!