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Hell breaks loose at gospel festival

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Chaos, and not salvation, was the dominant theme as what was supposed to be a mega gospel music festival held in Salima District turned into a beehive of chaos, confusion and monkey tricks.

The festival, which debuted last weekend at Sunbird Livingstonia in Salima, saw organisers leave the venue before paying artists.

According to adverts promoting the event, the show was supposed to feature local and international artists and renowned church ministers. In fact, it was supposed to be a spiritual party of music to run from Friday to Sunday

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However, things started going haywire when some artists who were billed to perform chickened out before the party even began.

For example, Favoured Martha and Pat ience Namadingo were initially billed to perform but later chickened out of the deal because they were not convinced with the arrangements.

The two artists told The Daily Times that they did not travel to the venue because the festival was poorly organised. They cited poor logistical arrangements that would help artists travel from their respective bases to the venue, among other grounds.

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“I did not even turn up for the event because I did not receive a deposit prior to my performance,” Martha, whose sentiments were echoed by Namadingo, said.

Another artist, Steve Muliya, confirmed being approached by the organisers but said he got no further communication thereafter.

Muliya said this was the case despite that his name was included on the list of those billed to perform.

“I was approached some months ago and [I was] informed that there would be a gospel festival but I never got communicated to again. Therefore, I could not use my resources to travel to the venue,” Muliya said.

However, one of the organisers, Tamika Milimbo, said the show had no sponsor, which made it impossible for organisers to pay artists upfront.

“We had no sponsors for the show and, as a result, we could not give artists deposits [part payment]. We agreed with some artists that they would be paid at the end of the show,” Milimbo said.

According to Milimbo, the show was disturbed by a heavy storm which blew up a stage and damaged some equipment. He said the disaster culminated in their failing to collect the expected proceeds; hence, they could not pay artists.

But, just like in Salima, all hell broke loose during the course of our interview, as Milimbo turned on this reporter: “Go ahead and publish [the story], I will find you,” Milimbo threatened.

To add pepper to a wound reeling from the pain of salt, Zambian Gospel Artist, Ephraim Mutalange, who was expected to grace the stage, was nowhere to be seen at the venue.

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