Asa Baako – A Ghanaian music festival experience

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”. – Alexander Pope

The festival was supposed to start on the Friday afternoon and the organisers had arranged buses to ferry people from Accra to Busua. It was supposed to leave at 6.30 am but two hours later we were still sitting in the car park waiting for people, for whom keeping time is an alien concept, to arrive. Luckily there was some entertainment by way of a couple doing yoga in the middle of the car park.  The five-hour drive although long was comfortable with the air conditioning on full blast and reggae music, to get us all in a party mood, blaring over the speakers.  We arrived in Busua excited and expectant.

Clean beach front

The festival was supposed to be a three-day affair with dance, music, cinema, live performances involving the local community. On arriving on the Friday afternoon there was no activity and nothing to indicate that there was a festival taking place in the locality. I was slightly disappointed but the clean sandy beach, the roaring waves and stunning landscape quickly dispelled any feelings of displeasure.

Things did not kick off till 3pm the following day and even then, it was a slow start.  The first few artists only attracted a small audience of local children and fishermen who were performing a rather curious dance which involved knee rises, like the kind you do in an aerobics class, and rolling in the sand.  Things came to life at around 6pm when captain Ghana took to the stage performing tricks with fire, water, and whatever else he could lay his hands on.  Watching him chew broken glass and swallow razor blades was excruciating.  He managed to get the crowd excited and the audience, that had up until then been rather shy lurking several metres away from the stage, came alive with people rushing forward for a better view.

Asa Baako Busua Ghana
Kunle on stage

The musicians that followed included Fokn Bois, Atonga, M3nsa & Kubolor, T-Roy, Kyekyeku none of whom I was familiar with.  Most were pretty good although none came close to Kunle who, on his harmonica, was just something else. I could have watched and listened to him all night but alas he had to leave the stage after three numbers.  The rain, not to be outdone, started falling around 8.30pm bringing the live performances to an abrupt end. It is a shame really because it felt like the party was just getting started. I returned to my hotel room as soon as the first drops started falling and was in dreamland soon after. It did not stop the diehard revellers who, the moment it stopped, moved on to the jungle party where I heard they danced till dawn. Sunday again was quiet, we had breakfast and advanced to the bus for Accra.

One of the artists on stage

The festival did not quite deliver what the promoters had promised, there was no dance or cinema, it was a one dayer rather than a three-day event and it did not involve the local community, not that I saw anyway.  I don’t think it was very well advertised in Ghana if advertised there at all, every local I mentioned it to had not heard of it and aside from the fishermen and local children the majority of people in the audience were foreigners like myself. 

I am glad that I went though, Busua was a delightful discovery. It has by far the cleanest beach I have come across in Ghana and when it comes to the picturesque scenery it certainly gives Ada Foah a close run for its money. There are plenty of bars and restaurants on the beachfront, my favourite was the French restaurant at Busua Inn where the food is mouth-watering. You do have to wait a long time for it but it is worth waiting for.  The next time I need to get away from the madness of the world Busua will be one of the first places on my list.  

Waiting for the sun to come out of the clouds