Lake of Stars Fest talks ‘Set It Off’


The Lake of Stars Festival is back this year having taken a break last year.
In 2016, the festival returned to its original home – Chintheche Inn in Nkhata Bay but the organisers are yet to announce this year’s venue.
This year the festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has since put in place other activities ahead of the main festival to run from September 28 to 30 2018.
One of the events on the menu is ‘Set It Off’.
Lake of Stars Festival Spokesperson, Zilanie Gondwe, said this year they will be holding the ‘Set It Off’ event at Chancellor College in Zomba on September 27, Lake of Stars London on March 10 and then Lake of Stars Scotland on March 11.
“We brought ‘Set It Off’ to Zomba as it’s a city with great history and potential and as Lake of Stars we are excited to hold such an event. This continues our work highlighting fantastic tourist destinations in Malawi and raising awareness of them,” Gondwe said.
She said that they believe that The Great Hall and Little Theatre where the free event will be held are excellently designed but under-used venues.
“We hope that as with the Kamuzu Institute for Sports last year, our event there can help put them back on the map,” Gondwe said.
She said that they have always represented women in their performers and crew and that they are always looking to book more.
“In 2016, there were comparatively few performers on the main stage. We thought Set It Off would be a great way to start challenging that, and create a new platform for many of the great female artists, who are doing exciting things in their scenes,” the spokesperson said.
Gondwe said they noted the scarcity of shows in January and that ‘Set It Off’ was simply free entry.
“After a year hiatus for the festival, we are back for our 15th anniversary and this is why we have a range of events lined up in 2018 ahead of the main event in September,” she said.
On the Lake of Stars London, which has seen poet Julius Banda calling for support, Gondwe said the full list of the lineup will be out soon.
“The Lake of Stars London will feature musicians and other artists. So far from Malawi we have Faith Mussa and Zaluso Arts and these are our first Malawian acts to be booked. There are also Malawian acts based in United Kingdom which we will announce,” Gondwe said.
She explained that some artists are being supported to attend by British Council, who have given Lake of Stars Festival support for Zambian and South African acts as well.
“So we are taking artists over using a mix of ticket sales and support from partners. Waltham Forest Council, British Council and Wood Street Walls among others, are all supporting the project together, “she said.
Asked why they have selected only a few acts from Malawi and only paid for a few, Gondwe said:
“Budget restrictions cannot extend to as many Malawian artists,” Gondwe said.
Meanwhile, Lake of Stars Festival has indicated that it will start receiving applications from artists, vendors and volunteers in February 2018 and that details on venue and line-up will be announced in March 2018.

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