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One venue for Blantyre Arts Festival this year

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

COLLABO—Princess performs with Makatumbe

Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) Executive Director Thom Chibambo has said the festival is on and ready to give people a treat once again this year.

Chibambo said Sunday when asked as to whether the festival is on this year having been silent the past two months with nothing on the ground.

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“The festival is on without fail and we have been working very hard to put things together. The lineup is ready,” Chibambo said.

He said that, unlike the previous outing where the festival was held at two venues – Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) and Jacaranda Cultural Centre (BCC)—this year the festival will take place at BCC only.

“This year it’s only one venue and let me also say it here that we are more than ready,” he said.

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The festival will be held from October 5 to 7.

The other festival organisers –Lake of Stars and Sand Music—have already come out and announced the lineup of their artists this year.

But Baf has been silent on its lineup forcing some people to start doubting whether the festival would take place this year.

The festival started on a high note early this year when it embarked on projects such as Fit For Life where it was training youth in different skills.

“Baf is creating a platform for the youth to use their skills to bring a difference in country,” Chibambo said.

He said the country has raw untapped talent which needs to be unearthed for the benefit of the society.

“Baf 2018 will showcase various products from Fit-For- Life Youth Creative training Programme so that Malawians are able to see and be able to appreciate the fruits of the training programme,” Chibambo said.

Meanwhile the festival organisers have released some of the names of the artists set to perform at this year’s platform and they include reggae group Black Missionaries and Anthony Makondetsa and gospel star Ethel Kamwendo Banda.

Makatumbe from Germany which will also perform at Lake of Stars Festival is also expected to perform at Baf.

Kasama Arts from Zambia, Klecks Theatre from Germany, ethnomusician Waliko Makhala, Agorosso and poets Raphael Sitima, Luckier Chikopa and Sylvester Kalizang’oma are some of the acts making the list this year.

Despite coming out, the festival however, still has a long way to put its house in order as it seems it is losing its steam.

The festival has shown potential over the years and attract renowned acts such as Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi and Mali’s Salif Keita but in recent years, it has failed to attracted top international artists.

Chibambo has attributed this to lack of adequate funding.

He said this year they are also running on a smaller budget.

During this year’s festival, the will also be an exhibition led by visual artist Ellis Singano.

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