The year 2019 revealed one thing about the music industry; the hunger of organisers to stage music festivals.
There was a point where one could feel a real scramble for spaces and dates to stage music festivals. On top of the recognised music festivals that are held, there emerged new ones.
Organisers mainly target the months of September to November when summer is at its peak. So to accommodate five-plus festivals, which feature almost similar acts, may not be practical.
It was not a surprise, therefore, that the Tumaini Festival and Sand Music Festival clashed on their scheduling. Fun-lovers were eventually left with a decision to make between the event at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa and the one at Kabumba Hotel in Salima a 100 kilometres away.
The notable festivals which made their bow included the Nyasa Music Festival which is a brainchild of James Makinje Jnr led Nyasa Music Group. The event was probably the first huge music event for 2019 as it was hosted in April at Kamuzu Stadium.
There were a number of odd elements associated with the festival. The venue, time, gate charges and line-up of performers dominated by artists from the same pot of music.
However, the organisers have to be saluted for pulling probably the most attractive cast of foreign artists to a single music festival. The three-day event had big names from South African urban music landscape such as Busiswa Gqulu, Dj Kaygee The Vibe, AKA, Nasty C, Prince Kaybee and Dj Noxx.
When the festival was being introduced, Makunje said they had made several twists to make its organisation central, accessible and unique. For all their good intentions, they failed to read some market forces correctly and eventually the event turned was the most maligned in 2019.
Then, for the first time, the Zomba Plateau played host to the inaugural Zomba Mountain Festival. Spread over three days, the festival on paper presented an ideal family get-away. Minus the music performances its programme included a visit to the famous William Falls and Chingwe’s Hole.
Though having assembled some of the best music acts in the country the event failed to live up to its pre-event billing. Mibawa Studios, the organisers, have it all to make the event as attractive as possible when they will return next year.
The festival calendar also featured Kukaya Music Festival which was held in the northern city of Mzuzu. The event’s dates also clashed with another musical event, The Giants, which was happening on the same day in the city.
The Lake Of Stars (LoS) returned in its discovery mode wearing a new format. The three-day event held at Kachere Kastle in Nkhata Bay was as usual a display of deep art with theatre, music and poetry forming the core of activities.
Despite clashing on their scheduling, the Sand Music Festival and Tumaini Music Festival once again showed that they remain one of the country’s never-to-miss events on any music lover’s calendar.
The Tumaini Festival, which is held at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp, remains a worldwide unique music and traditional spectacle which projects the potential that lies in oneness artistically.
Music, films, dance, comedy, art exhibitions, poetry and theatre which were displayed on five stages mounted across the venue were a marvel to those who witnessed the event.
On the other side, the SandFest, riding on the shoulders of its headliner, international reggae ace Jamaica’s King Sounds, reminded everyone why it remains one of the most sought-after annual music events catalysed by good organisation and impressive stage performances.
Another music festival was the Flood Church organised Ufulu Festival. The event normally takes place around July 6 as part of the country’s independence celebrations but this year for unknown reasons, it was shifted to July 20.
As usual, Blantyre hosted the Blantyre Arts Festival at Blantyre Cultural Centre. The event is still struggling to reclaim the vibrancy that it displayed when it took off.
Hopefully, the organising team will place the necessary buttons to refresh its face a bit.