Over a year after establishing themselves and proving to be one of the reliable events production and promotion companies in Malawi, Qoncept Creative achievements cannot be overemphasised.
They have and continue to soar high as there shows have been better organised, much to the delight of Malawi’s entertainment enthusiasts.
However, Qoncept Creative’s footprint remains in Lilongwe, leaving fun-seekers in cities such as Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba hungry for a feel of some of the key international entertainment events in the capital city.
The firm, a brainchild of poet Q Malewezi and his wife Bridget, brought to Malawi Uganda’s queen of comedy Annie Kansiime, who thrilled fans that jam-packed the 3 000-seater Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc).
At the same venue, Qoncept Creative also hosted UK-based Malawian stand-up comedian Daliso Chaponda, Zimbabwean mbira legend Oliver Mtukudzi and, just last week, South Africa’s revered choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
In December, Qoncept Creative closes its annual calendar of events when they host Nigeria’s stand-up comedian Basketmouth.
However, according to Q, the other cities should not feel shunned as there is a lot that Qoncept Creative considers before coming up with an event.
“We are a Lilongwe-based company and our market intelligence is strongest here. Putting together an event requires a lot of ground work in the area where the event will be. A similar amount of investment would be needed to hold an event elsewhere and the costs of that wouldn’t make business sense because we would have to move the team to that location.
“The expectation of us to hold events everywhere is unrealistic and reflective of the wider expectations we sometimes have of people to do everything. We would rather work in partnership with other companies from the different cities or towns. They would better be placed in the know on how best to market the shows in their territory. This is actually an opportunity for people to get into the business and develop partnerships,” explained Q in an interview.
He said the firm is willing to organise shows in other cities, but in partnership with promoters based in those areas among other conditions.
“We have been approached by a company in Zambia so that collectively we can offer more shows to the artists we invite. There is no reason why people in the other cities can’t do the same. So, basically we would do so much more via partnerships than going at it alone and no one can partner with themselves.
“As a country we also need to build more arts spaces with different capacities. We mainly hold our events at Bicc because of the facility of the venue and the numbers it can hold. Security is also a key issue as the venue is secure.
“We have never had an incident at any of our shows. Finding similar venues that can hold 1 400 people comfortably with a good stage, sound and parking, among others is a challenge. We need more venues like Bicc in all the cities,” he added.
Malewezi noted that “Qoncept Creative was birthed out of realising that we had access to such a facility in Lilongwe. As soon as similar facilities are built I am sure a lot more will happen in those cities and towns.”
Blantyre-based music promoter Jai Banda conceded that the lack of a world-class venue in the commercial capital has led to the city being shunned in terms of class events.
“To be honest, I would agree that because we do not have a venue such as the Bicc in Blantyre, it is difficult for us to stage such kinds of events here. Because when we turn to the hotels for instance, the conditions are not conducive for concerts as the hotels mostly want us to have dinner and dances,” he said.
Jai also alluded to the fact that the lack of venues for afternoon venues in Blantyre creates a problem for Blantyre event organisers.
“In Lilongwe, they have Lilongwe Golf Club which is capable of hosting fine events. In Blantyre we used to hold shows at Blantyre Sports Club, but since they stopped us from holding shows there, it has really been difficult for us,” he said.