Weekends have always been reserved for family and for friends. And in most social settings, the top question asked is “What shall we do this weekend?” I can answer that for all residents and visitors of Harare, attend Unplugged. “Unplugged is the aspirational and family-friendly experience around live music, food and urban culture” (Unplugged). I attended this event for the first time on Saturday and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
With a little bit for everyone, Unplugged blew my mind when I first arrived. One can argue the drive is long (I know that was my sad excuse) but in all honesty, attending the event is worth it. Upon entrance you get greeted with a friendly smile, and a tinkle in the eye of someone that is having fun. If the people at the entrance look like they are having fun then what’s it like inside? Absolute joy!
There was a stage and local artists rocked the stage, livened up the atmosphere and most importantly, they had the children dancing. It’s rare to see a place full of children’s joy outside of a nursery school or a birthday party at Nando’s. Some children were on the stage, others where by the stage, busting their nonrhythmic moves in an uncoordinated manner. It was like a packet of Jelly Babies came to life and started dancing. Absolute joy!
Food stands were located on the edge of the main area. I had to avoid the edges as the aroma was hypnotic. I had gone to watch the rugby not to eat. But one plate could not hurt, right? A couple of bars were operational at Unplugged and they served drinks suitable for children (soft drinks and juice) and alcoholic beverages for adults. They knew the law, underage drinking was not promoted by these bartenders. The one bartender even questioned my age. Funny guy! At least they have a sense of humour. I guess they would have to considering that they had to deal with all ages.
There were a lot of people – families, friends, friends and family. A lot of camping chairs were set up, blankets gave the grass a sense of polka dots, and bean bags were the “cool” option (for bean bag rentals click here). The sea of people were having fun, comfortable, and relaxed. Hats, caps and shades were popular accessories amoungst the adults, whilst food stains were the accessory of choice for the children. Too much excitement I guess. For every group of people, a cooler box or two could be found by their feet. Old faces mixed with new faces, acquaintances were amoungst friends, colleagues mingling with family, it was as if everyone knew each other. And if they did not, they were about to. The perfect social event!
I had attended Unplugged to watch the Rugby World Cup final with my friends. As much as people were having fun, my main priority was finding the screen(s) that was showing the biggest final in rugby history. I found the TVs and with no surprise, all the rugby fans flocked to the multiple screens on offer. This was awesome as I did not feel crowded and neither did I have to position my head in a particular angle just to catch the gap between people’s heads. I found my spot and was comfortable throughout the game, and what an extraordinary game it was.
After the game, I went back to the main area and the atmosphere was as upbeat as I had left it. The artists were rocking it, the dance floor had expanded, a lot more people were up and busting a move, and the children were still on the stage whilst the MC was spurring them on. The vibe did not die, it came alive. The sun had set and the fun had increased. The DJ came on to take the atmosphere to the next planet. He tore up the decks, lit up the dance floor and took us to the next planet. The children were still riding their sugar rushes, whilst the adults were fueled by what they were drinking. People danced, people sang, people continued to have a good time.
My first experience of Unplugged was absolute joy. I should have attended the event months ago and I have now realised what I have been missing. Definitely the most fun I had over the weekend and I know I was not the only one that felt that way. Unplugged is truly a family friendly event and has something for all. The children express themselves, adults be themselves and the atmosphere is of absolute joy. For more information about Unplugged, check out their Facebook page.
I hope to see you at November’s event. I know I will be there.