Mzuzu has registered a three-month dry period of shows involving big artists, the last being held on 27th October 2012 where Lucius Banda and Botswana’s Makhirikhiri toured the Northern Region.
Despite most artists being on recess in January, Mzuzu’s entertainment joints proved to be dry even during the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The question arises as to why have such an entertainment blackout in the green city.
But music promoter Jai Banda says the long distance from Blantyre to Mzuzu plays a major setback to hold shows in the region.
“For instance, my equipment requires a 10-tonner-truck, and it costs at least K500 000. Then you think of ferrying the musicians, the cost rises to almost K800 000 for transport alone,” said Jai, who has never organised another show in the region since [the late] Evison Matafale’s show there.
He says that adding up the cost of transportation, advertising, accommodation and other expenses, the northern voyage ends in a loss.
Asked about patronage, Mr Entertainer said: “The turnout is the same compared with other cities, but it’s the cost of transportation that scares away artists from holding shows there.”
However, Black Missionaries manager Ray Harawa, while acknowledging the cost of transportation and long distance as the major setbacks, said his band doesn’t usually hold long distance shows unless they are hired by individuals.
“If individuals hire us as is the case with Lilongwe, then we can also be in the north frequently. When we are hired, we take advantage of that to organise additional shows,” said Harawa.
For Mzuzu-based artist Rodger Nkhwazi, who has two albums to his credit, Nkhuzomera and Little Child, despite the lack of shows in the city; individuals have their own ways of making merry.
“We have the lake nearby [in Nkhata-Bay]. People trek to the lakeshore
for fun, while others prefer night discos at Sunbird Mzuzu and Villa Kagwentha every Friday and Saturday respectively,” said Nkhwazi.