Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) will not take place this year.
BAF Executive Director Thom Chibambo confirmed the development yesterday saying the decision not to hold the festival this year was arrived at during their review meeting.
“I can confirm that BAF will not take place this year. The festival will thus come back next year,” said Chibambo.
Chibambo said last week that the festival was on this year and that it would be held on October 1 and 2 and that they were currently making plans to hold fundraising activities.
“Yes we planned everything that the festival should take place on October 1 and 2 but then we also had to sit down as a team and review the festival and that is where we decided to cancel it this year,” he said.
Chibambo said they had to discuss at length and that they had no choice but to cancel the festival.
“We are at pains but we could not have done otherwise. We want to improve the festival,” he said.
He maintained that they want to review the festival since it started in 2009 and that they want to improve it and that it would come back bigger and better next year.
BAF Board Chairperson Alfred Msadala also confirmed that the festival would not take place this year.
BAF is one of the top festivals in the country and through its platform has brought international acts among them Jamaica’s Mutabaruka, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, Mali’s Salif Keita and South Africa’s Rebecca Malope.
Last year the festival was held at Blantyre Cultural Centre and was headlined by Malope.
The past years has seen the festival doing well especially when it was working in partnership with Poetry Africa until recent years when some quarters felt it was losing its steam and direction.
With current economic problems, many festivals are struggling to make ends meet.
Sauti Za Busara Festival in Zanzibar was also forced to cancel its 2016 edition due to funding and would thus return next year.
Solomonic Peacocks which last year debuted with a theatre festival was also forced to cancel its event this year due to inadequate funding and would return next year.
Mwezi Wawala Festival run by Nanzikambe Arts failed to take place last year and it is not clear if the festival will take place this year.
Lake of Stars also went on a two year hiatus before coming back in 2013.
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