The 10th edition of the Sand Music Festival is gone and the three-day event brought thrills and ills almost in equal measure.
From the evening of Friday, October 30 to the early hours of Monday, November 2, fun seekers endured a mixture of emotions along the beaches of Lake Malawi at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach. At every turn, the fortunes and misfortunes that laced the event defined a real rollercoaster.
The festival is among the biggest music and art events appearing on the calendar in the country. And this year’s event had two factors to it; it was the 10th anniversary and it was taking place in a year when there has been an entertainment drought owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These two factors brought an added feel of excitement. Until recently music enthusiasts were not sure of the event taking place this year given the Covid-19 restrictions which are currently in place.
But spurred by that 10-year milestone, organisers, Impakt Events Management, put their foot down. They said no matter what it takes the event will take place this year. They said it represented a big celebration for them.
The organisers assembled an appetising line-up of both local and international artists. That pack was led by Tanzania’s controversial hit-maker Diamond Platnumz and South Africa’s DJ and music creator Master KG of the Jerusalema fame.
On the local front, the current happening artist Patience Namadingo led other heavyweights such as reggae giants Black Missionaries Band, Zembani Band, Paul Banda and the Great Angels Choir.
Although some artists literally failed to make it on stage there were still some warm and memorable moments that revellers went back home cherishing.
These came in form of collaborations, which were either expected or otherwise. From the first day to the last, patrons were treated to a number of them.
On Friday lyrist Nepman jumped on the side stage with a huge task of bringing back life to the event which had already faced its first setback emanating from an electrical fault. The main stage had become temporarily dysfunctional.
Realising the task before him, the Blantyre-based artist brought his A-game and he delivered a catalogue of songs that have helped build his artistic profile. But perhaps he saved the best for the last.
Nepman surprised patrons when he announced that he was about to invite on stage Honjo music star San B. “I have seen my brother somewhere around here. San B! Where are you my brother?” he shouted.
As people were figuring out whether that call was real or not, the backing band quickly cued instrumentation for the two artists’ duet Chauta Wamphamvu. Then from nowhere the Amake Junior creator appeared on stage and the patrons were sent into a delirious frenzy.
He wanted to say a word or two but the noise from the patrons was just too much. They urged him to straight away perform and he complied.
After dishing out the song, the fans wanted him to stay on but to their dismay San B walked off the stage.
One aspect that has dominated local music this year is the mash up concept championed by Namadingo. Ahead of this year’s festival, Impakt Events director Lucius Banda said he will make efforts to have all artists that collaborated with Namadingo on this project.
But for some reasons that did not materialise. When Namadingo took to the stage on Saturday, there was little expectation that revellers will be treated to a first-ever live mash up performance.
Then the moment came and the ‘Soldier’ himself stepped on stage to join his partner. Fans knew the moment had arrived and a thunderous applause welcomed his arrival.
The two went on to deliver their first mash up almost perfectly. Just like they had done in the studio production, their performance was another battle of two impeccable vocalists. Their understanding was on point as if they had been rehearsing the whole year.
The collaborations master class was competed by sets from Kell Kay and Lucius Banda who performed Mpaka Kale, Janta performed Madalitso Anga which ‘Soldier’ did as well. There was also time for dancehall kingpin Saint to show his mettle on stage with rapper Macelba as they delivered Chisankho and Hi Ha.