Sound, lights and ACTION! The Chale Wote Festival is here with us again from the 14th to the 20th of August 2017. A few days, already, into the epic event, it seems bigger and better than the previous year. For the record, over 30,000 people attended Chale Wote festival in 2016.
Every year, usually in August, it is all fun alfresco on the major streets of James Town and Osu in Accra. This is a season where Art, Culture and Music play together in the streets; the explosive entertainment and contagious excitement, you can only imagine.
What is Chale Wote anyway?
Chale Wote is a cordial means of asking friends to come along in the local Ga dialect. Interestingly, the term was used to describe a pair of rubber-made slippers everyone wears in Ghana. This was to signify movement with the feet in an informal way among friends.
Today, Chale Wote is a street carnival and a week-long festival in native Accra. This is the first of its magnitude in the country. The Chale Wote Street Art Festival, currently, runs for a whole week with a tall lineup of musical performances coupled with art showcases and sale of cultural craft and artefacts.
The festival has not always been a week-long though it has been in existence before independence. For many years, it was a one-day street event. It evolved to a weekend street fair until eventually, in 2016, a whole week was given to Chale Wote.
If you were born and or bred in Accra, the sights of the masquerades that enrich Chale Wote will be common. Definitely, compared to then, these are friendlier in our minds now. It is several times easier to appreciate the art now that we are grown and can see some benefits of this street art.
But not until 2011 did the Chale Wote street festival gain massive international popularity. Ever since, Accra Alt dot, organiser of the festival have not looked backed. Yearly, the foreign tourist and leisure travellers counted at the carnival in Accra triples. Last year, it was such an amazing sight with plenty of these guests in Accra participating from day 1 to the end, from dusk to dawn.
The Impact of the Chale Wote Festival On Tourism in Ghana
The impact of this event on Ghana tourism cannot be over-emphasized. It has been major. To the extent that this year the Accra Metropolitan Assembly signed an MOU to support the Chale Wote Street Arts Festival 2017.
This year, artists from over 15 different countries globally have landed in Accra and are showcasing their wares. A high foreign revenue is generating from a single event like Chale Wote, according to experts in the hospitality industry.
There is a bumper harvest for every stakeholder in the tourism and hospitality sector in Accra in terms of exposure and revenue. The event serves as a free marketing opportunity to be taken advantage of by these players. The hype, the event creates in and for Ghana is cosmic. Tourists, who never knew Ghana, become well familiar with her owing to such an event.
Chale Wote is a Business
Nowadays, the Street festival is a coveted money-making venture. Business folks, especially residents of Jamestown, Osu and Nima, mark the Chale Wote dates on their calendars and actively plans towards it. A wide range of products and services are offered to the general public for patronage. Every cultural artefact you can think of is on display during the festival.
Restaurants, bars and hotels in Accra and Osu are not left out. In fact, with the number of people who represented at the event last year, this is the second Christmas for hospitality managers in the area. Some hotels go to the wise extent of offering special Chale Wote packages that may include heavily discounted room rates, city shuttles and dinner for guests.
The Benefits are Priceless
After all, is said and done, it is benefit galore for Ghana. Chale Wote, aside drawing numerous tourists to Ghana, also attracts a myriad of foreign investors too. The artefacts sold, notably the traditional ones, also sell the rich Ghanaian heritage to the world. During Chale Wote, the youth are engaged and active; possible social vices among the unemployed ones are surely curbed in addition to bringing excitement. Money flows into many pockets during the event.
Why you cannot miss the Chale Wote Street Carnival 2017
The Chale Wote Street Festival 2017 has already begun with all the colour; the beautiful scenery is a starter. According to organisers, only the best artists in Ghana are billed to perform at the event. The street parade is reminiscent of the past parades if you are a local or a complete novelty, one to look forward to, if you are a guest.
Are you bored at home? Then, the best place to socialise is here. Meet and make plenty of new friends. Give your social life a nudge up with new contacts that will keep your phone buzzing till till. You can even meet that special someone at Chale Wote 2017, you know. If you are in the art industry and want to network, this is your opportunity.
Perhaps, you have long craved for a vacation in Accra, to enjoy the sights and sounds, visit the top destinations in Accra and experience seasoned hospitality at some of the top hotels in Ghana. There is good news, no great news. The perfect trip season is now. Accra is in excitement mode.
Credit: Kofi Baiden, Jumia Travel