Urban music lovers from all walks of life flocked to Lilongwe Golf Club on Sunday to witness the launch of Urban Vibes Music Festival that seeks to give urban artists a platform to entertain Malawians.
The event had a rich lineup of urban musicians such as Gwamba, Martse, Blasto, Onesmus, Kelly Kay, Lulu, Don Tarz and Phyzix, among others.
But the show, hosted by award-winning Priscilla Kayira, BlakJak and Annie Matumbi, failed to live up to its billing.
The audience felt short-changed as the event was characterized by frequent power cuts after a backup power source failed to generate enough power for the musical equipment.
Poor time management also frustrated the patrons as the show billed to start at 10am only started at 4pm.
Failure of the heavily marketed boxing bout between comedian Tannah and rapper Phyzix also disappointed patrons who felt short-changed.
First to perform was King Chambiecco who jumped on stage to set the pace for the day with his song Chambiecco Ndi Dolo.
At around 4pm, Chizmo Njuchi with the help of Veda Njuchi, entertained the fans. Chizmo gave out a beautiful and energetic performance of his songs such as Rasta Bway, which left his fans asking for more.
Then it was time for the Don Tarz to show the fans why he is christened the stage master. Sporting his usual yellow hair, Don Tarz was a darling to watch during his 30-minute set of amazing energy and stage antics.
He was on fire with his freestyle based on Wah and Ngah songs that people sung along.
“Dancehall ndiye kudya kwanga
Imachita kulira kuti amayi kalanga
“Kundipatsa stage ndimailanga
“Ine ndi owopsa kuposa kwa asing’anga
“Sindiimba zachiberemuda cha anganga”
In a post-performance interview, Don Tarz said he was overwhelmed with the positive support from fans.
“I am happy that I have made my fans happy. I hope and believe this is just the beginning of much more acts ahead of us,” he said.
A music fan from Area 36, Amuna Chisale said: “On a serious note, Don Tarz is indeed a stage master. His interaction with fans and catchy dance moves were perfect. This shows that he was ready for the festival.”
At exactly 6.30pm, Don Tarz introduced Annie Matumbi on stage as another host.
Matumbi took charge of proceedings and invited reggae/dancehall artist Blasto creator of the song Jah Jah Naslie on stage. Blasto with his Tuff Lions Band did not disappoint as they gave out an impressive performance and interacted with fans.
Martse came with his song Zikomo Atate and people whistled and cheered as he performed on the stage.
Some of the songs he performed included Mwano, Mkatimo popularly known with the line “Lero nde tigona panjatu, town Sisunga kape” and Mwapindulanji.
Later, people welcomed Gwamba, popularly known as The Landlord, on stage. As an artist who has thrived on collaborations, his set was dominated by such hits. He performed three songs Mbama and Nthawi Zanji alongside Martse, Crazy G, AK On The Board and Crispy Malawi.
Patrons also enjoyed a great performance from Onesimus, the African Butter. He performed a dozen of his famous hits including Solomon, Panadol, Open Your Heart and Mr Nobody.
Other musicians who performed included Lulu, Phyzix, Kell Kay and man of the moment, Quest with his popular song Moto.
In an interview after the event, one of the organisers Temwani Luhanga said despite facing a lot of challenges, the event provided lessons for their upcoming festivals.
“We have just started this annual festival and we organised it to give the much-needed platform for artists whether up and coming or established ones to showcase their talents and we believe this will provide our artists an opportunity to market themselves locally and internationally,” she said.
In a statement issued yesterday, the event’s organisers apologised for the power challenges as well as poor time management.
The statement reads in part: “The delays were caused by a faulty generator and miscommunication in getting the stage ready, both of which the team takes full responsibility of. The team would like to assure the general public that this has been a learning curve and everyone is committed to do better in other upcoming events.”