Lake of Stars promotes Malawian arts and tourism through international interaction and exposure. We organise festivals on the shores of Lake Malawi and run events in Europe and across Africa.
Will Jameson set up the Lake of Stars Project in 2003 to encourage international tourism to Malawi, taking inspiration from events like WOMAD and Glastonbury. The project uses cultural tourism to generate revenue and exposure for Malawi. The project was born from a desire to raise money for a developing economy, help promote Malawi as a tourist destination and expose Malawian artists to an international audience. Will Jameson first visited Malawi in 1998 when he worked in Dwangwa as a volunteer with the Wildlife Society for 6 months. During that time he travelled to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.
On returning to England Will took with him a souvenir – an empty carton of Chibuku Shake Shake beer. Half way through university at Liverpool John Moores he decided to start a clubnight with friends. They named the night after the Malawian beer and went on to win Best UK Club in the Mixmag Awards in 2004. It was in this same year that Will launched the first Lake of Stars Festival, headlined by Chibuku favourite Andy Cato from Groove Armada.
The festival attracted dozens of people from Europe and hundreds attended from all over Malawi and Southern Africa. It won the Malawi Tourism Award in its first year and has grown to become one of the best known African festivals on the global circuit. The festival is set on the shimmering, palm-fringed shores of Lake Malawi. Malawian and international artists gather for a musical, social and cultural exchange in a festival location like no other. After 4 festivals at Chintheche Inn on the northern lakeshore, the festival moved to Salima in 2008, and then to Mangochi in 2009. In 2013, the festival came to the capital Lilongwe as City of Stars. Back on the lake in Mangochi in 2014 and 2015, for 2016 the festival is returning to its roots in the north, back on the pristine white sands of Chintheche Inn.
The festival acts as the focal point when travelling around this beautiful country, forming part of an itinerary spanning all that Malawi has to offer. After taking a break from the festival in 2012 to support local initiatives, the project returned to Malawi in 2013 with City of Stars, our ten year anniversary event that took place in September. A multi-venue arts festival and conference, City of Stars showcased the best in emerging and acclaimed talent from Malawi and beyond, and featured an eclectic programme of live music, film, theatre, exhibitions and speakers. It promoted Malawian culture and creativity as well as attracting international artists and arts practitioners.
International headliners at Lake of Stars events have included Afrikan Boy, Andy Cato (Groove Armada), Annie Mac, Beverley Knight, Bombay Bicycle Club, Christian Tiger School, Eddy Temple-Morris, Felix B (Basement Jaxx), Foals, Freshlyground, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Gilles Peterson, Goldfish, Goldierocks, Jon McClure (Reverend and the Makers), Joe Goddard (Hot Chip), John Wizards, DJ Kelechi, K’naan, The Maccabees, Mafikizolo, Mary Anne Hobbs, Mokoomba, Nick Mulvey, The Noisettes, Oliver Mtukudzi, Reason, Ric Hassani, Rob da Bank, Rodney P & Skitz, Sauti Sol, Selmor Mtukudzi, Seth Lakeman, Stanley Odd, Sway, Toya Delazy, Tumi, Uhuru, The Very Best, YADi, DJ Yoda, Young Fathers, DJ Wildcat 74/5, Zeus, Zone Fam, and many more.