Venue unveils plans to play Toto's Africa on repeat all night

Toto - Africa

The Exchange, a long-running music venue in Bristol, is planning to play Toto's Africa on a for five hour loop to raise money for Temwa, a local charity that provides assistance to people in remote rural areas of northern Malawi. 

"What started out as a really stupid idea from a stupid drunken night out has become a stupid reality," DJ Michael Savage tells the BBC. "I drunkenly suggested I'd run a night playing just that track two years ago. I kept talking about it and now I've got to do it."

Savage will be playing the track between 11pm and 4am in The Exchange's main hall, while elsewhere in the venue patrons will be able to enjoy cover versions and remixes of the the 1982 hit.

"I love the track, it's unusual - the ultimate guilty pleasure - but I'm not sure whether I'll fall asleep or not," says Savage. "I feel quite sorry for the bar staff, they're going to be really stuck in the middle." 


The Exchange, Bristol

The Exchange, Bristol (Image credit: Google)

Recently, a branch of Burger King in London announced plans to play Africa on repeat for an entire day, although when Classic Rock paid a brief visit they were playing something else altogether. 

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Many different versions of Africa have taken the internet by storm in last few months, including covers by Weezer and Trivium's Matt Heafy, and a version in which the vocals were tweaked to be a single tone off-key and a single beat out of time, leading to infuriatingly unlistenable results

There’s also a video which features footage of an empty shopping centre as Africa plays in the background. Nothing actually happens over the course of the clip, but it’s attracted close to two million views. Then there’s the heavy metal cover version which has been watched 28 million times. And there's a cover by The Floppotron, in which 64 floppy disc drives, eight hard drives and a two scanners are programmed to play the notes that make up the song, with it all sequenced to re-imagine Africa as as series of mechanical bleeps and screeches.

This trend shows no sign of stopping. 


Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.