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Debate hots up on events

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A hot debate ensued on social media over the weekend following the delay by Jamaican artist Busy Signal to perform at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe as well as some of the challenges that Impakt Events led by musician Lucius Banda encountered during the show.

The show, which started on Saturday, spilled over to the early hours of Sunday with Busy Signal getting on stage late around 1:25AM but performed for a longtime and bowed out at 4:18AM.

“I don’t really understand why these shows don’t have a proper programme. It is because this is Malawi where we are used to mediocrity. I couldn’t understand why the artist only appeared on stage at such odd hours,” said Petros Mazunda, who patronised the show.

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He noted that watching the show, one would have equally observed that the stage was idle at so many intervals and that the master of ceremonies kept on assuring people that the Jamaican artist would be coming any time.

Lucius indicated through the platform that Malawi’s audience is not easy to handle pointing out that if you sell advance tickets which make it easy on the door in terms of entry, someone will copy and print his or her own and make the promoter fail to break.

“You spend millions in advertising telling people to come as early as 10AM and people only show up at around 5PM and create congestion. A culture of stealing has gone too far for anything to work in this country,” Lucius better known as Soldier said.

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He, however, yesterday admitted that there were some things they did not do right and that they learned from them.

Lucius and team were expected to hold a press conference with Busy Signal in Lilongwe on Monday.

The Busy Signal show was part of a fundraiser ahead of the Sand Music Festival set to take place end of next month at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi and will also feature Jamaican artists including Sizzla, Etana, Turbulence and Bushman.

Mazunda also tackled the ticket system saying with some promoters letting people down in the past when it comes to bringing international acts, people are cautious when buying tickets with many resorting to getting them last minute.

“This can be sorted easily by stopping last minute ticket purchases and once it is done for just one show, people will start to observe rules of the game. These practices will be costly but will improve our image and build trust in sponsors,” he said.

Mibawa proprietor John Nthakomwa, who provided equipment for the Busy Signal show said Busy Signal performed with half the speakers because there was not enough security to hold the crowd back and that in the process electrical wires to 10 speakers were cut and so was the sound.

“These are issues that could have been avoided if what I said for the stage to be secured was heard clearly. There was nothing we could have done at the end as it was too late. There is a lot that goes in making an event successful and it starts with working as a team, sharing experiences and planning together,” Nthakomwa said.

Last year’s Airtel Trace Music Star winner Samuel Mjura Mkandawire with all the challenges pointed out, said the country was moving the right direction.

“Let’s learn and be better because if truth be told, here in Malawi we embark on these projects with just our creative minds. I feel sad when people start making comparisons of a show in Malawi to a show in South Africa or Europe. I am not saying we should settle for less but please understand that this is a phase we have to go through as these other countries are too advanced,” the singer and keyboardist said.

He pointed out that the country has a major problem in the arts industry which is not given the much needed respect by the government as noticed by the non-existence of a curriculum on arts in “our schools.”

“On sound, I will also say we are progressing at a very good pace. I am a sound engineer myself and the job is not easy as it looks and it is the hardest job because you have to satisfy thousands of ears. Everyone has their own musical mixing taste,” he said.

Mkandawire said the shows he has been part of that had great sound are those that involved an artist travelling to Malawi with their team of sound engineers citing among others US jazz maestro Earl Klugh, South Africa’s singer Lira and Jamaica’s Morgan Heritage.

“These are highly experienced sound engineers. We are not at that level yet but we are getting better, as I said and I am happy that people are investing in the right sound. On organisation of a show, we are continually learning and Impakt Events has no doubt learned from the Busy Signal show,” he said.

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