Nyege Nyege Music Festival in Uganda: A Growing Leisure Activity with a Moral Dilemma

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Launched in December 2015, the Nyege Nyege musical festival has become a popular leisure tourism activity in Uganda attracting national and international participants. The festival involves an all-night event characterized by wild partying and diverse leisure activities usually lasting four days. Despite its growing popularity, the festival has received sharp criticisms in the national media and other public forums across the country. The barrage of attacks against the festival are premised on cultural, moral, and religious ground. Critics argue that Uganda being a strong cultural and religious conservative society should regulate (and restrict) leisure activities that deviate from the culturally and religiously acceptable moral behaviors and expectations. In this paper, we analyze the paradox of promoting Nyege Nyege music festival – a post-modern leisure practice within a morally sensitive environment. We argue that unregulated embracement of festivals expose society to foreign cultural influences of the so-called progressive contemporary neoliberal post-colonial leisure economy. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge on leisure and tourism with implications for unraveling its potential for diversification of tourism products in Uganda and the moral dilemmas that come with it.



COVID-19, Leisure, Nyege Nyege, Music Festival, Moral Dilemma, Tourism, Uganda