• Organisers assure environmentalists that wildlife won't be affected.
• Nakuru deputy governor says festival will boost local tourism.
The ecosystem and wildlife around Hell's Gate National Park in Naivasha will be fully protected during the two-day Koroga Festival that begins on Saturday, a day after Valentine's Day.
Organisers say conservationists had raised concerns, hence all measures have been put in place to avoid noise and pollution. This emerged at Enashipai Spa in Naivasha when they presented Tanzanian singer Diamond, who will be the main performer in the 29th edition of the festival.
The location of the event had raised controversy from wildlife activists who noted that this would have a devastating effect on the park. However, Naivasha Love Festival chairman Kimani Gitau said they had engaged experts before settling for the section of the park. He said no vehicle will be allowed into the park, adding that plans were underway to clear all waste when the event ends.
"In the past, the park has held events on this particular location four times and the sound levels will be contained to make sure there is minimal effect on the wildlife," Gitau said.
He said the organisers will make the festival a four-day annual event. They have plans to include hiking around Mt Longonot and Eburru.
Nakuru Deputy Governor Eric Korir welcomed the timing of the event noting that it would give revellers a time to visit the lakeside town. He noted that 70 per cent of cut flowers come from Naivasha, hence the Love Festival is the move in the right direction.
"The county government is fully behind this event, which will not only sell various tourism destinations areas but also promote local artists and tourism stakeholders," Korir said.
For his part, Diamond promised his fans that they will be fully entertained. Other artists have also been lined up for the event. He said he was keen to work with local artists, noting that the country has the biggest share of his fans who keenly followed his shows.
"I'm keen to mentor other up-and-coming musicians from the region and I will be using this show to help them showcase their talents," he said.
Naivasha Hoteliers chairman Mark Kariuki said they expect the event to attract thousands of people, adding that all safety and environmental issues had been taken care of.