The northern city of Mzuzu is one area that has not done too well in terms of hosting entertainment events for some time now.
This is to avoid using the word shunned. On a different day, it would be safer and straight forward to say the green city does not feature highly on the plans of many entertainment event organisers.
Maybe it is the distance and the accompanying costs of staging events there that scares them, we don’t know. But one notion that cannot be tolerated is to suggest that there is no ready market and audience for any kind of entertainment in the city.
The city’s dwellers are people. Normal mortals just like the ones we have in the other three cities of this country. They also have different interests whether in sports or arts which need to be nourished periodically. And these include an occasional good dose of entertainment on their plate too.
I still have vivid memories about what a big hit were Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre’s shows at Katoto Secondary School were during my stay in Mzuzu in my childhood days. The performances were always sold out as everyone scrambled to have a glimpse of Malawi’s finest English stage actor Du Chisiza Jnr.
I don’t want to believe that things have taken a drastic change for the worse all of a sudden. Mzuzu, just like elsewhere, has a sustainable appetite for entertainment events. They equally need to be given a chance to sample their favourite pastime events.
Considering all factors, it is unfortunate that some event organisers and performers have limited their performances to other regions and cities while giving Mzuzu a blind eye.
It is, therefore, encouraging to see selected acts and individuals who still find it necessary to dig deep in their pockets to include Mzuzu in their event schedules. It was, therefore, refreshing to note that the city will this month play host to the inaugural Kukaya Urban Music Festival.
According to the announced line-up of performers during the festival, the event has been framed with elements of the urban in mind. The list has been dominated by names such as hip-hop gospel artist Gwamba, rapper Macelba, Temwa, Wikise, Patience Namadingo, among others.
While people from Mzuzu were basking in the euphoria of hosting the maiden Kukaya Urban Music Festival then boom! A problem has emerged from nowhere. The festival, set for August 30 to 31 at Mzuzu Stadium, will clash with the annual Night of Giants gig slated for Squirrels Park on August 31.
The Night Of Giants event has attracted some of the most followed names in the local music industry such as Chileka’s reggae band Black Missionaries, Anthony Makondetsa, the Balaka giant Lucius Banda alongside his Zembani Band just but a few.
As one can see, on paper both these events have the ability to make any fun lover salivate. They are shows that you would not want to miss for no good reason if they were to happen within your area of reach.
But here they are, happening on the same day and at venues which are few metres apart. Organisers of both events don’t even look like they will work out any compromise and, as it stands, they will go with the status quo. What a scandal!
The arguments being advanced, with one suggesting that the different themes of the events are enough to set their audiences apart is lame. Their target audience is the same: It is about people who love music and who like to attend live performances regardless of whatsoever.
They should not turn the music platform as a stage to flex muscles unnecessarily. Being in music, they are basically pulling towards a common goal; that is to uplift the art in the country. It is expected that the two parties will strike a compromise which is still very possible to attain.