The much anticipated Madaraka Festival, that was set to kick off in the US this weekend, has been postponed, has learnt.

Anxiety surrounding the festival started a couple of days ago when the lead act, Kenyan rapper Nyashinski announced his exit from the tour due to visa delays for his team.

Barely hours later, Kenya’s own Savara cited facing the same visa issues, forcing organisers of the festival to postpone the event.

READ ALSO: Madaraka Festival: Fans Disappointed As Nyashinski Cancels US Music Tour

The festival was postponed due to visa delays for some of the headliners. Photo: Simon Javan Okelo/Instagram.

Speaking exclusively to John Mosh Muchiri after the postponement announcement, organiser Simon Javan Okelo set the record straight on why they resorted to that decision.

“It’s not easy to make such a decision,” said Okello.

But we have made a unanimous decision, as the organizers, the artists and our event producers, Live Nation, and other partners, to postpone the event. It’s better to postpone than to deliver a half baked festival.” He added.

Okello clarified that the visas were not denied, but just delayed.


“Once the visas are out, new dates will be announced, so fans should not be worried,” Okelo said.

“In fact, we might have additional artists on the lineup.” He added.

Speculation surrounding Nyashinski’s (a US citizen) team visa issues was that the organisers did not want him to travel with his entire band.

“Nyashinski was meant to travel with only one band member, who is his music director,” Okelo clarified.

Nyashinsky Bowes out of the event due to visa delays for his team. Photo: Courtesy.

“All the artists were supposed to perform with our US-based band, One Vibe, which was in all the agreements. Nyashinki has a seven-man team. Other than the music director, he has a manager, photographer and social media handler, among other people managing his career.” He noted.

On Savara’s forfeiting, the organiser said;

“In fact, we are the ones who brought Savara and SautiSol last year to the US. The issue is, we do things by the book. For an artist to perform here, he needs a P1 visa for performing artists, which includes a work permit and is only valid for one year. You cannot renew that. We had to get a new one for Savara, which has not been denied, but delayed. We hope it will come out soon and we will announce new dates.”

According to Okelo, who has organised Madaraka Festival for 10 years now, every year has new lessons.

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Organiser of the Madaraka Festival Javan Okelo said they will announce new dates soon. Photo: Simon Javan Okelo/Instagram.

“Our event is the biggest East African festival in the Western world, but we have gone beyond that. We are attracting more non East African people every year. Last year’s festival had about 25,000 people in attendance, and this year’s multiple city events was targeting up to 150,000 music fans from different parts of the world. That’s why we have Live Nation on board, who are the best in the game and have venues all over the world.” Javan stated.

He added that the biggest lesson he has learnt with this postponement is knowing who is on their side and who is not.

“This makes us plan our teams and partners better, to ensure that we give the best experience to our fans in future.” Javan Okelo said.

He wrapped up by assuring music lovers in diaspora that his team will announce the new dates soon, once everything is set.