Malawiâ€™s Minister of Tourism and Culture Daniel Liwimbi has given Sunbird Sand Music Festival what seems to be a lifeline, saying government will ensure the three-year-old event does not die.
Speaking during the opening of the four-day festival on Friday, Liwimbi disclosed that the ministry also had invitations from the Moon-Rock Festival which was happening at the same weekend, but he opted for the Sand Fest at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi because it represents locals involvement in uplifting tourism as a springboard to economic prosperity.
Said Liwimbi:â€We chose Sand Festival because it is totally being organised by Malawians. The other one is not.
â€œTourism is one of the five priorities of JB government. Therefore, I commend organisers and sponsors for bringing these people to the beautiful beaches of Lake Malawi. I hope the festival will give artists hands-on experience. Artists enrich our lives and cultural expression. Letâ€™s not just dance, for the music entertains, informs and educates the nation.
Liwimbi thanked National Bank of Malawi and other sponsors, urging the rest of the private sector to join in and make the festival a success.
â€œAs government we will support all the way and I commend the organisers for the determination,â€ explained Liwimbi.
The festival, ending today [Monday], was organised by Lucius Banda, Shire Events Management and Sunbird Tourism and sponsored by, among others, National Bank of Malawi.
According to Lucius, it has pooled about 45 acts on the palm-fringed beaches of Lake Malawi in the absence of the Lake of Stars Arts Festival which is on hold this year.
However, it was Coss Chiwalo and Alleluya Band who had the privilege to perform soon after the launch. Other highlights included Fikisa, Lulu, Botswanaâ€™s Makhirikhiri, Charles Nsaku and Lucius.
Like Liwimbi, Lucius said he was happy to see the festival back and growingâ€”saying there is no need for Malawians to look down on themselves.