Sand Music Festival Director Lucius Banda, commonly known as Soldier, has admitted that they had challenges during this year’s festival held at Sunbird Livingstonia in Salima.
The artist said this on Sunday during a press conference organised with some of the sponsors TNM, National Bank of Malawi, Sunbird Livingstonia and international acts Jamaica’s Turbulence and Tanzania’s Diamond.
Lucius apologised to people for the various challenges that affected the festival including power shortage.
Some quarters criticised the organisers for lacking seriousness which saw them mounting the stage on the very same day the festival was starting, thereby delaying the performances and for lack of and proper schedule for performances.
“The major problem is that as a festival, we have to still a outsource other things, for instance, we prepared ourselves with generators but realised later it had problems. We sincerely apologise, it was not negligence or disorder. We will do better next time,” he said.
Other people have also faulted the organisers, saying they are running the festival as a show and that they were not growing.
But Lucius said they are growing.
“We are trying to fly a Boeing and in that way we are meeting challenges,” he said.
Asked why they mounted the main stage on the same day for a festival and not earlier and why it appeared poorly on Friday, Lucius also offered an apology.
“We apologise for the stage. We hired the stage for a week and this was the time they were supposed to bring it in. They actually had a problem when building but all the same we are learning from all these experiences and will do better in the next edition,” Lucius said.
Despite the challenges of power shortage, weather and change of performance time, Lucius said they were thankful to people for their support and patience.
“People as well as the artists were very kind enough to understand the situation. We once again just want to thank people for coming in large numbers than last year,” said the Sand Music director.
He also thanked the media for promoting the festival which he maintained was for Malawians and that it was an initiative of artists.
“I also would like to thank the corporate world for the support. TNM, National Bank, Sunbird and many others and we hope this partnership will continue,” he said.
Sunbird Livingstonia Manager Nedson Chikuta also admitted that there were challenges in terms of power and other logistics.
“We actually hired a generator which failed us but we managed to use the same resources. Things didn’t go well on Friday but there was an improvement on Saturday although weather also affected the festival. As Sunbird Livingstonia, we hope to continue hosting festivals and make sure that they are a success,” Chikuta said.
TNM’s Sponsorship Manager Limbani Nsapato said the festival was great despite the hitches.
“We had an exciting line-up of artists and the turn-up was good and we are happy that as TNM, we offered Malawians a chance to buy tickets through discount. There were hitches but the organisers handled them well,” Nsapato said.
Turbulence, who performed on the opening day, hailed the organisers for inviting him to the festival, adding that there was need for more festivals to unite people.
Tanzanian star Diamond, indicated that they complained because of the challenges but they accepted them.
“I love the festival; it is my first time to perform near the river (lake) or oceans which is not the case in Tanzania. Of course, there were challenges but we agreed that we should not complain because everything happens for a reason,” said the artist.
“People were so good and the support was massive. And I salute all those who came to support the festival.”
There were dry moments during the festival with no activities which bored fans.
The last day which had some performances coming from the Saturday line-up included boxing but was not between Osgood Kayuni and Limbani Masamba as earlier indicated.
Other artists who performed on Sunday which was the day many people left included Edgar ndi Davis Band, Giddes Chalamanda, Lucky Stars, Mizu Band and Kufewa Acrobatics.
General Kanene from Zambia did not perform and, according to Wendy Harawa, he is said to be sick.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues