The last decade has seen a boom in the music concert space in Nairobi. This has led to an increase in the number of event grounds in the city and its environs. Picking the right location for an event is very important since it affects attendance. Nairobians, myself included, tend to avoid insecure locations and event grounds in remote areas. I have attended a lot of events in Nairobi and here are my top 10 event grounds.
1. Ngong Racecourse
Ngong Racecourse is one of the most famous event grounds in East Africa. Its location and huge size have made it popular with big acts. This ground is capable of holding up to 5 large events running simultaneously. The last event here had 31802 attendees, more than 100 acts and 4 large stages. This was arguably the largest event in Kenya’s history. Despite the large numbers, there was adequate parking space and security staff within the event. Ngong Racecourse had been infamous for its insecurity. However, this has improved. The last 4 events I have attended here, have had numerous police officers and private security forces patrolling every inch of the event ground. This is why it tops my “Top 10 Events Grounds in Nairobi” list.
2. The Carnivore Grounds
For many years this was the most popular event ground in Nairobi before getting dethroned by Ngong Racecourse. The older generations of Nairobians have very fond memories of this Carnivore due to its popularity in the 1900s and early 2000s. Its location made it one of the safer event grounds in Nairobi. However, it lost this title to the newer and more modern event grounds located within malls and estates. The events ground is still popular with international artists, with acts such as Diplo and Major Lazer exclusively performing there annually. The only downside to this event ground is the horrible traffic at its entrance during events.
3. The Waterfront – Karen
With a scenic backdrop of an artificial lake, this is one of the most beautiful event grounds in Nairobi. The event ground’s location within a mall makes it one of the most convenient locations to attend an event. This is because you don’t have to buy goods from vendors, who tend to overcharge for everything. The mall also has ample secure parking, which always gives me peace of mind as I have one less thing to worry about. The Waterfront Mall is easily accessible, and there is rarely any traffic jam at the location during music events. It is a secure location, and I don’t know a single person who has lost their personal belongings at an event held here. This is one of the most underrated event grounds and I hope it gets more popular.
4. Two Rivers Mall
Located within the leafy suburbs of Runda, Two Rivers Mall is one of the biggest malls in Africa. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this mall has a modern event ground within it. The event ground is covered in beautifully manicured grass that is perfect for dancing on. When attending a music event here you get to enjoy all the benefits of being within the biggest mall in Africa. These include ample secure parking, access to the biggest retail stores in Africa, and easy accessibility to the grounds from anywhere in Nairobi. I have never experienced traffic jams when attending an event here and this saves me the hustle of having to leave the house early to avoid traffic.
5. Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC)
KICC is one of the largest conference centres in the world and for a period held the record of the tallest tower in Africa. So you would be right to assume that it contains several huge indoor and outdoor event spaces. I have unfortunately only attended one music event here. It was the Coca-Cola World Cup Tour and it had thousands of attendants. KICC is located within the Nairobi Central Business District making it easily accessible from everywhere in Nairobi. The location is also well maintained throughout the year and it has really good security, with all Kenyan Security forces having an office and presence within the facility. This is why it ranks 5th in my “Top 10 Event Grounds in Nairobi” list.
6. Moi International Sports Centre
I have been lucky to attend a few concerts within this humongous sports complex. Safaricom Jazz Festival used to be held here, and I always looked forward to attending this event every year. Despite being a government-owned facility, this is arguably the best-maintained events ground in Kenya in my opinion. The grass here is immaculately maintained and perfect for picnics. Events are rarely held here, so, if you get a chance to attend one, jump on the opportunity.
7. Garden City
Garden City located along Thika Road has a really large and beautiful event ground. The event ground is best known for hosting Gondwana, a popular Amapiano and electronic music event. Attendees get to enjoy all the benefits associated with attending an event at a mall, such as ample parking, security and access to retail stores, which are cheaper alternatives to the vendor stalls within the event. Garden City’s location next to the Thika Superhighway makes it easily accessible from anywhere in Nairobi.
8. The Winning Post
This is arguably the smallest venue on my list. However, it has become very popular among Amapiano fans because it hosts famous South African deejays almost every week. The Winning Post is located right inside Ngong Racecourse, however, as far as I know, it is a separate entity from Ngong Racecourse. The ground’s huge stage, massive screens, incredible sound and amazing concerts are why it makes it into my “Top 10 Event Grounds in Nairobi” list.
9. Tatu City
I am lucky to be one of the few people in Nairobi who have attended an event at Tatu City. Koroga Festival was held there in 2019 and it was one of my favourite events of the year. However, Tatu City is in a remote location and getting there was difficult. Nonetheless, the location was safe with a lot of security and ample parking. I hope to attend another event at Tatu City in the future.
10. Jamhuri Park
Jamhuri Park recently got renovated, making it one of the newest event grounds in Nairobi. Its location along Ngong Road makes it a direct competitor to Ngong Racecourse. However, due to its location next to Kibera slums, Nairobians have been skittish about attending events here. Tems, a world-renowned artist, was even forced by her fans to move her concert location due to security concerns. However, the concerns are a little bit exaggerated in my opinion, since I have attended a few events here and I have never witnessed any crime. This is why it makes it into my “Top 10 Event Grounds in Nairobi” list.
This closes up my “Top 10 Event Grounds in Nairobi” list. Have you attended a concert at the event grounds listed above? Comment on your experience below.