Sand Music Festival Director Soldier Lucius Banda said Sunday that their budget for this year is K105 million and that they will have to dig deeper having failed to get enough in terms of sponsorship.
The 11th edition of the festival takes place at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi District next weekend.
“We would love to pay our local artists more and even better. When we get more sponsorship, we pay better but it becomes difficult when you don’t have enough funds,” he said.
He revealed that, with their K105 million budget, they did not even get more than K40 million from sponsors.
“We are trying to have this festival and we are committed to be holding it annually. And all we are saying is that let people give us support and not throw stones always. They should look at this festival as a platform for raising Malawi,” he said.
Some quarters have gone to town on the festival, with some local artists complaining of being exploited.
“We do not exploit any artists; for us, we work with every artist and this is why we have contracts. We are civilised and democratic and we give a choice to musicians. At times, we may be able to give deposits and there are times we pay after the festival and we have done this before,” Lucius said.
He also highlighted the fact that at times it would be different in the way they treat international artists.
“We have some international artists who have won Grammys and we treat them how they are treated and for local artists, we will also do the same at times. But in terms of payments, we do not dictate, we ask how much they charge and if it’s on the higher side, we bargain and then go on with the contract,” he said.
Lucius also said some artists perform at the festival as volunteers and that they are considered with a package.
The festival this year has attracted over 50 local acts who will share the stage with international artists such as Jamaica’s Gramps Morgan, who jets in tomorrow, whereas German’s Raphael Lupro and South Africa’s Sipho Makhabane arrive on Wednesday.
“Makhadzi from South Africa and Rivoni Lioness from Uganda arrive on Thursday whereas Nigeria’s Mr P and Uganda’s Levixone jet in on Friday. We are ready and looking forward to giving people an experience,” Lucius said.
In a related development, the festival, in partnership with Sunbird Nkopola, over the weekend donated foodstuffs and assorted items to Mangochi Prison and Koche Health Centre worth over K1 million.
“We believe in our culture for Sand Music Festival is a cultural event. We believe in following cultural values and, so, we decided to do something and help vulnerable groups in Mangochi District,” Lucius said.
He said he has been in prison before and knows the life in there, hence making the donation.
“I encouraged them as well, apart from donating things like soap, soya pieces, sugar, drinks, bans, salt and other foodstuffs,” Lucius said.
At Koche, Lucius said, jointly with Sunbird Nkopola, they donated foodstuffs, saniters and masks.
“The aim of Impakt Events is to help musicians and vulnerable people. If we succeed, we will help a lot, our dream is to invite musicians to our platform and give them millions and even more but, for now, we are not yet there,” he said.