Even though insurgents have fled Mogadishu and guns have largely fallen silent, security is still a risk -- at least 10 people were killed in the suicide bombing of a bus outside Mogadishu's National Theater on March 18. Portions of Somalia still remain lawless as large parts of the country are under the control of militants, such as Al-Shabaab.
The festival in Mogadishu is the latest event in Waayaha Cusub's tour aiming to win over youth and convince them to turn away from violence.
Starting with concerts in the United States last summer, Waayaha Cusub then brought its Somali Sunrise Concert Tour back to East Africa.
True to their intrepid reputation and message of peace, the rappers staged a string of "stop-the-violence" surprise shows in one of Nairobi's toughest neighborhoods in November 2012 in response to a chain of blasts that had rocked the Kenyan capital.
The group's performances will be featured in "Live from Mogadishu," a documentary following the band's death-defying journey to bring modern live music back to their homeland.
"I have worked and supported musicians also in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq -- really, this group, they're the most willing to risk their lives and really go straight against the extremism," says Gerstle, who is also behind the documentary, set to be released later this year.
"A lot of music and human rights projects around the world are just about being happy and love and stuff like that, but this one is much more specifically trying to persuade youth to make a better choice," he adds. "They are risking their lives and being much more on the front line than any of the other musicians."
For Ali, the time is now right to take his music back to Somalia.
"At this time, we need to start to reach the youth in Somalia to pass our message," he says. "We need to tell them that this jihad is not good, is not right, so this time I think in Somalia most people don't want the extreme ideas. I think this time it's better than before."