Jah people, it is praiseworthy that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s has finally moved to bring sanity in the way the county’s music festivals are organised.
Just last year, I watched with astonishment how the ministry’s officials took sides with the Sand Festival in Mangochi while the inaugural Moonrock in Nkhata Bay was lonely like an abandoned baby. But it was not their mess.
For years, the ministry responsible for creative minds has been a festival of inertia, especially delays to refurbish the K300 million (about $714 000) Blantyre Cultural Centre—the ruined entertainment mecca which most art-zens call the French Cultural Centre—and failure to start constructing the first ever museum in Lilongwe after Parliament approved about K400 million (about $953 000) for the two overdue projects.
The system errors make it difficult for onlookers to miss periodic impressive strides such as Monday’s meeting with festival organisers to harmonise the calendar of their events.
Since a heated face-off between the globally acclaimed Lake of Stars and local artists in 2010, art and business captains have been bombarding music lovers with festivals at the end of October as if August, September and October paydays bring less exhilarating summer experiences.
Now that we know that Lake of Stars is not returning to the palm-fringed beaches of Lake of Malawi this summer, festival makers should spare festival goers the headaches we suffer when choosing where to go.
Fair competition might be the slogan of any free market economy, but it inconveniences the fans when the brains behind the festivals cannot choose separate dates to showcase their carnivals which tend to have similar names, setting and vibes at that.
Where I come from, chaos is when big brains cannot showcase their admirable wares as it should be. Rather than having units scrambling for crowds, the country needs well-planned festivals of togetherness.
Gig managers cannot continue confusing patrons in the name of promoting arts and tourism—for marketing is nothing without proper planning and timing.
End the silent hostilities and let the lakeside carnivals return without avoidable anarchy.