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We are serious— Sand Music Fest

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Organisers of the Sand Music Festival, to be held at Sunbird Livingstonia in Salima from October 27 to 29, have said they are ready for the festival.

The festival’s director, Lucius Banda, popularly known as Soldier, told the press yesterday at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre that they have created a reputation both here and outside, hence attracting more acts.

“We are a brand now and we are growing slowly and we have reached a point where we are becoming a force to reckon with. We have created a reputation such that some artists outside the country want to come on their own,” Lucius said.

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He added:

“We are serious with what we are doing and I should say it here that we have avoided taking every artist aboaed; not that we are sidelining them, but one must earn this platform and be good enough to be part of the festival.”

Having recently revealed that reggae star Kenyatta Hill would be available, Lucius said there is a change as the Jamaican has a tight schedule.

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“But, as a festival, we have moved from the position where we were having one big artist. At the moment, we have seven confirmed international acts,” he said.

Lucius said Sand Music Festival is a three-day event and that they would want people to experience the whole three days and not only target a day.

“The past years, it was becoming a one-day festival, defeating the whole idea of a festival but, now, we will be having famous artists to help bring in more people and this year it’s strictly African [artists],” he said.

The main headliner of the seven international acts is Congolese star Awilo Longomba, who some quarters, especially the younger generation, feel is not relevant to the present day.

“Awilo is a legend and old-timer, he is relevant to those who follow music. He is still way up and has remained in the picture, collaborating with artists such as Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade,” he said.

The other international acts are Zambia’s controversial star General Kanene, South Africa’s Thulasizwe and Zimbabwe’s Seh Calaz.

“Everyone has a portion and we feel there is a dish for everyone. And, just to appeal to the younger generation, we have added South African acts Professor and DJ Stavo and we also have a Namibian gospel star D Naff,” he said.

The other local acts set to be part of the festival, to cost K15,000 for early bird and K20,000 on the door, include Black Missionaries, Patience Namadingo, Tay Grin, Nepman, Skeffa Chimoto and Lulu.

He also revealed that they are working on putting a fulltime studio for collaboration at the festival.

“We are talking to these international acts so that there should be a chance for collaborations with local artists, hence looking at the issue of having a studio there,” Lucius said.

He said they will have two stages this year and that, with the challenges of power they encountered last year, they are also working on having more stand-by generators.

“We also encourage sponsors to come in and support us. At the moment, we have Sunbird, who are the main sponsors, we have Carlsberg Malawi, we are also negotiating with Population Services International but we need more,” Lucius said.

He said that the corporate world should not be looking at their failures, which cannot be avoided during festivals, but should help push them to grow.

“We also want the government to support us. For instance we have a challenge with Malawi the Revenue Authority (MRA), which collects taxes from international acts when they come. We are still not a popular destination; so, for now, they should help us have tax holidays so that, when the industry picks

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