Sunbird Sand Festival organisers is pursuing close ties with communities around Nkopola communities to ensure locals benefit from the business opportunities the event offers.
The three-year-old four-day fiesta is slated for next week on the palm-fringed beaches of Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi, replacing the acclaimed Lake of Stars Arts Festival which is on pause this year.
Â The trading grounds inside and outside the festival grounds are usually dominated by business barons from neighbouring towns, but Sunbird Tourism Limited marketing manager Dan Tambala and festival coordinator Lucius Banda said locals will run the show this month.
Said Tambala: â€œAs a growing festival, we are working hand in hand with the locals to ensure they do not only take part in making the festival free from accidents and crime, but also profit from it.
â€œThe venue has been redesigned to give residents a central business place where they can interact with festival goers. We want to leave them with memorable memories and ensure they are protected from well-to-do businesspeople who hijack the stalls.â€
He was flanked by Sunbird Nkopola hotel manager Silvester Mtambo, who disclosed that rooms and tickets were selling like hot cakesâ€”thanks to the allure of performers: South Africaâ€™s Professor and The Slaves, Botswanaâ€™s Makhirikhiri, Malawiâ€™s Black Missionaries, Skeffa Chimoto, Mlaka Maliro, Great Angels, Piksy and Maskal.
The festival exerts pressure on the neighbouring localities in times of HIV and Aids.
While excited with the business openings, village head Chipoka promised to sensitise her people to the side-effects it presents.