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The Fajara Hotel Grand Opening with Fajara Dance Festival

My Magazine 2023/10
5 min
The Fajara Hotel is set to open its doors with a star-studded 7-day event and unique concept. Afrohouse, Afrobeat, Amapiano, Soulful House Artists, Performers and DJs from around the world come together for a week-long musical experience like no other!

“I use my love for music as a way to invoke change. The coming together of different beats and genres brings together people from all walks of life simply by the love of music.”
     - Andree Turay, Fajara Dance Festival Promotor

“Gillman Audio is looking forward to creating a unique home for music in The Gambia at the Fajara Dance Festival.”
     - Phillip Gill of Gillman Audio

From the Desk of Basiru Jawara, Owner of the Fajara Hotel

Dear All,
I'm thrilled to announce the impending re-opening of the Fajara Hotel, a landmark in Gambian tourism. This iconic venue holds a special place in my heart; acquiring it in 1982 was a dream come true. The hotel's unmatched location, beside The Gambia's only 18-hole golf course and on the country's most stunning beach, makes it truly unique.

We're marking this new chapter with the Fajara Festival, a celebration of Gambian spirit and culture. This is not just a return but a revitalization, a promise of what’s to come.

Thank you for being part of this exciting journey. Here’s to our shared future.

Warm regards,
Basiru Jawara
Owner, The Fajara Hotel

Early beginnings of The Fajara Hotel



The Fajara brings a new concept to The Gambia as the first self-contained festival site. Not just another music event, The Fajara Dance Festival (FDF) is a holiday destination offering the African experience of a lifetime. It's Music, Excursions, and great Food on the smiling coast of Africa!

Our core values are to produce a global multicultural arts, music, fashion and food event on an international scale!

The primary motivation for the festival is to bring together people from around the world to enjoy a diverse range of music and explore the rich culture of Gambia!

The festival will boast our main beach stage featuring the best in Afro and Soulful house music with an additional 3 arenas bringing together our international family of artists, DJs and producers from all genres for this unique experience! Our guests will enjoy the beautiful panoramic view from the Fajara Hotel, with all events on-site within walking distance.

In addition to the on-site events, we have personally hand-picked, crafted and curated a series of excursions with our local partners to showcase "The Real Africa" in all its raw colours and natural beauty.

We have joined forces with local businesses to ensure local products and brands are given the opportunity to be part of the Fajara Dance Festival experience, from locally sourced drinking and cooking water to locally sourced alcoholic /non-alcoholic drinks, ice cream and locally grown produce. We will also work with independent family-run businesses to source authentic African apparel, which will be available at the event!

We aim to raise awareness of environmental issues and benefit local residents, communities, social projects, schools and the local economy.

We aim to push for sustainability and to put in place viable ecological concepts with the hope that the principles, ethos and ethics of the Fajara Dance Festival will be passed down to future generations.

The Fajara Festival will bring employment, boost tourism and the economy and sustainable future prosperity.

Nothing like the Fajara Festival has ever happened before in The Gambia. Not only is it set to be an incredible event in an amazing setting, but it’s also a game-changer in more ways than one!

Taking place from the 21st to the 28th of November 2023, Fajara Fest will feature more than 60 artists, performers and entertainers from around the world.

But Fajara Fest is going to be special for another reason, too – its focus is on giving back to the local community. It's much more than a gig. It’s the creation of a long-term musical home in The Gambia, driven by a strong local commitment to making it a success.

The Fajara Festival will actively involve local people, creating jobs and putting money back into the community. A big part of this is the reopening of the beautiful and much loved Fajara Hotel as accommodation for festival-goers, with associated training and employment opportunities for local people.

The festival will showcase local musical talent in front of world-class producers and also create opportunities for local craftspeople. It will help to raise money to invest in projects in the area, such as support for children with disabilities through The Glove Project and sponsoring a local football team. Guests will be invited to bring a shoebox of goods that will be donated to a local charity or orphanage and receive a drinks voucher as a thank you. Fajara Fest will also be highly eco-conscious as it will be powered by solar panels. Plastic will be banned throughout the site, with only biodegradable or reusable products sold.



With acts like Hannah Khemoh, K-Child, Neil Pierce, Culoe De Song, Aluku Rebels, Sy Sez, Wigman, DJ MJ, Lady T, Jus Mich, Lady K and Yooks, to name a few, all performing on a beach stage, the Fajara Dance Festival is going to be a special event. Meet some of the artists!


Producer, DJ, label owner, entrepreneur, and teacher, Boddhi Satva’s musical roots run deep, reaching out across the globe from his native Africa. Doing things differently ever since his debut release back in 2005, Boddhi’s work is both sonically unique and culturally important in equal measure, spearheading the spread of African sounds into the wider global electronic music scene while effortlessly skating across borders and genres.




DJ, Singer and Promoter Ella Knight is in high demand for her tasteful selections across a broad range of Soulful House, 90’s pumping House-Garage and Classic Disco.

An accomplished singer since 2016 and an alumni of Gilles Peterson’s Bronwswood’s ‘Future Bubblers’ boasting an extensive catalogue of releases and features. Ella has recently broadened her output to DJing, performing legendary sets across London including The Cause, XOYO, Corsica Studios and more.




Manoo began his carreer in 1995 in Lyon. His musical culture at this time included a wide range of styles: Hip-hop (De la soul, A Tribe called Quest), Afrobeat (Fela Kuti, high life music...) and, more specifically, House music. He built himself a strong reputation as a DJ, and more precisely, for his capacity to dig out hot and exclusive tracks. In 1996, he became a resident of the Ambassade, known in France for having amazing sets and regularly hosted famous DJs. That is how Manoo got the opportunity to heat the crowd for stars such as David Morales, Kerri Chandler, Todd Terry, Little Louie Vega, Dimitri from Paris, Dj Deep, and Saint Germain. Thanks to his passionate and burning sets, he gained, week after week, a larger and more devoted following.




Ralf GUM’s music career dates back to 1990, when he started as a DJ before establishing himself three years later as a full-on institution within the industry with his own productions. Since then, Ralf has evolved into one of the most respected figures in the House Music scene, called a role model, pioneer, innovator, legend and global House Music superstar by others, while his secret is simply to keep absolutely fervid about real music. He is globally renowned for his exceptional productions and DJ sets, always staying true to his passion and attempting to enhance the genre. 




Barhama (born Ebrima Cham in Sanchaba Sulyjobe, 1992) is a Gambian Afro-pop artist/musician. 

Barhama is undoubtedly one of the Gambia’s finest singers. He is a singer, a songwriter, an instrumentalist, an actor, and an activist who has spent much of his life singing while inserting all his diverse talents into music to entertain, educate and inform.




FOUR DIRECTIONS has its SOUND in London clubland, holds its SPIRIT in motherland DRUM beats, draws on the RHYTHM of club heritage & the four pillars of dance music to create a unique sound of interconnected rhythms.
The strap-line comes from the root of rhythm, which starts with the drum: DRUM-SOUND-RHYTHM-SPIRIT.
Founded by Johnny Reckless and Sophie Clinch, FOUR DIRECTIONS is a culmination of more than 40 years of experience working within the Dance Club industry, the Record store industry and the Global fashion industry. They have collaborated to bring together their love for dance music, style, art and club culture through a variance of musical offerings, events and product propositions that reflect the energy and the flavour of the music scene they both love and the style from the club scene, which they have both played a part for over 40 years. FOUR DIRECTIONS family are a cool, stylish crowd who love to dance. "A gathering of people from four directions.”



During the festival, The Fajara Hotel will offer workshops for guests to experience and participate in during their stay. Workshops will be available on request but at an additional cost. You will be able to participate in drum making, batik, tie&dye, sabar drumming, basket plaiting or yoga classes.

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