The Accra entertainment scene is morphing into a fresh new experience. From the genres heard to the venues where they are held, the niche parties invite people to come as they are and enjoy an experience that wasn’t as prominent in Accra till now.
Enjoyment is no longer happening only at night and in clubs. Now, parties are held in concept stores, restaurants, and even at the skatepark and can start no later than 11 am. The growth of the creative scene, filled with artists and DJ collectives has birthed new and atypical parties organized throughout the year, gathering hundreds of people.
The focus has now changed.
Describing iMullar Sound System, a space born from the media iMullar, its founder, Maxwell Adjavon says: “iMullar Sound System is more of an exhibition, where the DJ is the artist and music is the art”.
Afrobeats is no longer the genre of choice at events. A wider range of genres from electronic to alternative music, are now displayed. DJs are now the centre of the entertainment scene as the ultimate taste makers performing for a diverse audience eager to enhance their music palette.
We are witnessing the growth of an alternative culture described by Muud Swingz (Dj and co-founder of the creative collective The Weird Cult) as “a doorway for self”.
The actors of this underground scene, take what they relate to from all over the world and make it their own. One of the most prominent examples is the rise of Rave Parties organized by collectives such as All My Cousins and The Weird Cult.
“The alternative brand is a luxury brand, it’s expensive” says Maxwell Adjavon.
Funding is still an issue in this space but we see many collectives overcoming the financial burdens with the help of the community. Spaces like Vibrate founded by Sandy Alibo in 2022, individuals and brands who trust in the vision, are providing a support for creatives. People are willing to participate in the growth of the scene, sharing and promoting the work of one another. It is still “building up” as pointed out by Ansah (member of the All My Cousins DJ collective) but, it is never the work of just one.
It’s nothing new.
Underground parties can be dated around 2015 already with places like Lokko House, offering a space for the DJs to organize underground events and showcase their music. However, the scene became more noticeable in 2018, The Masked DJ, one of the pioneers of this movement, shares. In 2019, the Government of Ghana kicked off ‘The Year of Return’, an initiative welcoming diasporans to explore and experience Ghana. This aided in the creation of a more willing and welcoming alternative space that laid the foundation of Rave culture as well. The Masked DJ also mentions artists and DJs like Gafacci and DJ Steloo who can be named as pioneers of the movement and whose tenacity made it possible for new generations to thrive.
The challenge is an important one but the aim is even more important: create a space with rooms for all, as inclusive and safe as possible.
“The rave culture is built in inclusivity,” says Seyyoh (member of the All My Cousins collective). Womxn-only parties like the ones held by Rebekah Rampe, founder of Afrodite and friends and the work of Womxn DJ collectives such as OFG empowering female DJs in Accra, are great examples of this. They provide a space for women and gender non-conformists to also party and connect.
Whilst it’s not perfect the accepting and welcoming nature of the space creates a breeding ground for education.
Another benefit of these new parties is the ability for people involved to learn new skills. In the past year alone, Accra has seen the DJ culture grow rapidly through workshops offered by Oroko Radio members and spaces like Palm Moments. The web radio is one of the most important actors in this scene and has built a bridge between artists from different backgrounds. Creating the opportunity for creatives to learn from each other and share opportunities.
People are now more aware of the possibility of building a successful and thriving career in the creative arts.
Actors in this new space are more open minded and aware of issues that have to be addressed one way or another.
The parties are not just meant for bumping and grinding, they are also a central element for creatives and artists to network and build the community they need. The intent behind these events is to open the door for the new generation to express themselves in a space made by and for themselves. The projections for this new growing space are to expand beyond the Ghanaian borders through collaborations and bigger events.
It is also seen by its pioneers as a ground where important conversations take place, where opportunities for the new generation are created and decisions are made to better their general well-being.