Funseekers will have to endure an extended wait for the much-anticipated return to the shores of Lake Malawi for one of the country’s international arts festivals, Lake of Stars (LoS).
The organisers of the festival announced a break of the event in 2019 in what they called an attempt to reposition and realign the annual event to new targets and goals. After a two-year hiatus, the festival was expected to return this year, but that will not be the case.
The organisers say after careful consideration and following advertisements from the government, regional developments and international guidelines from global bodies such as World Health Organisation (WHO), they have decided to postpone the festival’s return to 2022.
“The international tourism, travel and festival industries are still finding it very challenging to operate at full capacity due to the effects of Covid-19 and reported new variants. The Lake of Stars team has decided to postpone the event until 2022,” reads a statement from the organisers.
The communication, signed by project manager Sharmila Elias, said they will continue supporting the initiatives on preventive measures that several countries, including Malawi, have rolled out such as vaccination and Masks 4 All Malawi.
Elias said they will also continue closely monitoring the new developments of the preventive measures against the pandemic, exploring other event ideas, promoting other projects and finding new ways of supporting Malawi’s art industry.
“Just like our fans, we miss the vibrant energy Lake of Stars brings along the beaches of Lake Malawi. We hope to host the festival next year,” she said.
In May this year, the LoS team delivered the second edition of the European Film Festival, which was followed by workshops with the support of the European Union.
Elias said they will continue to develop and support new projects that add value to the growth of the Malawian arts, film, culture and tourism industry.
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife director of arts Humphrey Mpondaminga said they appreciate the challenges that have been brought about by the pandemic and that they will continue supporting the festival as it is key to the promotion of the creative and tourism sectors.