The Kenya Music Festival (KMF) 2017 finals are scheduled to take place earlier than in
the past. This year’s event was brought forward to July breaking away from traditional
August school holidays – owing to the General Election set for August.
Notably, the fete marks a historic 91st edition of the annual schools and institutions
music competition, reportedly expected to attract an estimated 1.7 million students.
The core objective of the festival is to mentor and nurture the diversity abound in the
budding performers of music, dance and elocution, who showcase their talents during
It also avails opportunities for skills development whilst also promoting appreciation
and preservation of Kenya’s rich cultural heritage through music and traditional dance.
The competition is expected to kick off during this month [May] at the regional levels,
building up momentum before culminating at the national contest.
As is the annual tradition, the festival draws participants from across the pre-school
early childhood, primary, and secondary schools to vocational, middle-level colleges
and universities categories.
Enhancing National Unity, Cohesion and Integration through the Kenya Music Festival
is the theme for this year’s performances.
The grand finale is set to take place at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and
Technology in Kakamega County from 10th to 27th July 2017.
According to the festival’s chairman Peter Wanjohi, preparations for the competition
have been on-going since early in this year.
“We have introduced some new items focusing on building peace in the country ahead
of the forthcoming elections,” said Wanjohi.
At estimated more than 600 competitive items have so far been selected and shortlisted
by the Kenya Music Festival’s steering committee.
These include patriotic songs under the slogan, Chombo Cha Amani [instrument of
peace] besides also a rhyme dubbed My Country, My Pride, My Future expected to
spread peaceful messages.
“We have few months left to the elections.. the peace agenda [enables] our children to
know national issues that affect this country besides also sharpening their talents and
skills,” said Wanjohi.
There have been efforts to formulate more standardized performances during the
competitions, resulting in a draft syllabus which contains guidelines for participants.
A series of training workshops, which brought together about 300 adjudicators and
trainers have already taken place culminating in a week-long forum held at the Tom
Mboya Labour College in Kisumu.
Ms Ruth Agesa, Executive Secretary of Kenya Music Festival said participants studied
and analyzed set pieces, which were selected for harmonized adjudicator’s judgement
“They held discussions on possible gaps in the music selected and provide direction on
how the set-piece performances will be adjudged,” remarked Ms Egesa.
The festival has notably also attracted participants drawn from neighbouring Uganda,
which is a member of the East African Community.
“This year’s competition is expected to bring on board several participants including
those from outside our borders,” added Ms. Egesa.
As a key event partner, UNICEF has been keen on thorny issues like violence against
children and challenges of school dropouts – be articulated and highlighted through
dance and musical set pieces.
Central Bank of Kenya is main sponsor. Other partners include National Environment
Management Authority, the National Committee on Citizen Participation on Security,
National Police Service, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Music Festival Open
Class, Public Service Commission, the National Transport and Safety Authority and