How old are you? Yes, we know it’s rude to ask, but whatever your age – and we do mean whatever – this is the one event of the year that is for everyone. We know this because the previous seven iterations of the Afro Banana Republic Festival have seen kiddies, youngsters, parents, and no shortage of over 70s in attendance… and that’s kind of the point: total inclusivity. This is not the type of event that requires you to be able to access innumerable apps just to make it past the entrance, or stage dive into a crowd of heaving bodies, or dance till dawn. It’s not a festival which asks you to wear the latest trends, or requires that you can correctly pronounce ‘Kanye’; show up sporting Crocs or roll up with a picture of Elvis on your t-shirt and nobody minds! All the ABR Fest asks is that you’re an accepting soul, looking for something a little alternative in the company of people who are out to have fun, whether that involves camping in a forest, bopping under the stars, or trying a new skill…
Three full days await, with any number of things to do. Try tai chi or qigong on the beach at sunset; take flight at the acroyoga jam; learn to make music with the marimba; have a go at Capoeira; or enjoy tennis on the beach with Ace Playgrounds. If all this sounds a little too active for your tastes, there’s always beat-making with local hip hop legends JUΛIO and SMILIN; magical storytelling with Elenitsa Georgiou, fairytale creation with an interactive workshop from The Majestic Music Tree; and food workshops galore.
Or, you could grab the nearest child (permission may be required!) and persuade them into partner yoga (“cultivating a sense of playfulness, connection and fun with your parent, child, sibling, friend or partner!”), coerce them into joining you at the Kids’ Summer Yoga Games (“explore all the fun ways that we can use our bodies to mimic the shapes, movements and behaviours the sea creatures that live beneath the waves”), join them in A Musical Trip Around the World (“introduce your young Bananians to new melodies, beats and rhythms from places and cultures beyond their wildest dreams”), or convince them to try the MC Baby Maestro class (“you and your little one will experiment with different melodic and percussion instruments, as well as singing and dancing”).
Of course you could always just chill in the company of like-minded festival-goers. In previous years we’ve seen people of all backgrounds, gender and nationality bond over a shared love of gastronomy (the Solar Kitchen Bar, Road Buns, Smokey Dee’s, and Momo’s are just a few of the foodie outlets dishing up delicious fare), outdoor living (the campsite boasts all the facilities you’ll need for a prolonged stay, and you’ll meet people from all walks of life – though be aware that reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis), and the environment (recycling and renewable energy are big themes at this year’s ABRF: engineers have come up with a sculptural wind turbine device which will power one of the stages, plastic packaging has been banned, and organisers are hoping to make this the first straw-free festival on the island!).
Ultimately, it’s the music which makes the fest, and with three stages hosting four main events (The World Stage is a venue for creative expression and chill-out vibes, Day Time at the Arc is slick sounds and hip beats, Night Time at the Arc is electronic dance, Sunday at the Arc is eclectic – everything from world music to disco) there’s plenty of space to enjoy the 30-plus musical talents hailing from home and abroad. But if you just want to hang out and enjoy the community vibe, no-one’s judging. Because the ABR Festival is the one event of the year that’s totally tailored to all tastes. And all people. Of all ages…
The ABR Festival
In Kiti Forest, Larnaca, on July 20, 21, and 22. A Day Pass costs from €23 presale, (entry on Sunday is free, though availability is limited so check the website in advance) and camping costs from €7 per tent. For more information and bookings, visit 2018.afrobananarepublic.com or the Facebook page ‘The Afro Banana Republic’