What was supposed to be a special edition of the Sand Music Festival to celebrate the 10th anniversary of one of the country’s biggest and most celebrated music festivals ended in disappointment in Salima.
With a line-up of stars, including Tanzania’s musician Diamond Platnumz and South Africa’s Master KG, this was going to be a moment to cherish. But it was never to be.
The event was on Friday officially opened by Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi, who underscored government’s wish to be involved in organising the event.
The minister said the festival has the potential to boost the country’s tourism sector and promote local talent.
Later, the event rolled out with performances from Sam Smacks, Nepman, Skeffa Chimoto, Saint and Sangie, among others. Their performances were, however, marred by poor sound due to, among other things, poor power connection. But the organisers, however, promised that things would improve the following day when new equipment arrived.
Come Saturday, the day which promised to be the climax day of the event, started on a high note with performances from Patience Namadingo, rising star Kell Kay and Tay Grin. Kell Kay showed his stage prowess with his vocal abilities as well as strong stage presence. After his set, the Nyau King Tay Grin took over. A well-known stage king, Tay Grin impressed the audience which responded to his engaging performance. But as soon as he finished his set, patrons were not ready for what came next. A heavy downpour started that soaked the music equipment, especially the speakers.
This was at the exact time that Master KG was billed to perform. The rain never relented until organisers were forced to suspend everything.
In a statement, Impakt Events director Lucius Banda said following advice from their technicians on site, they resolved to temporarily suspend the event.He promised that on Sunday, which was the final day of the festival, the headliners Master KG and Diamond Platnumz plus other local acts would perform. The organisers started working towards replacing the soaked equipment with new one which by 1pm on Sunday had not yet arrived at the venue despite patrons being told that the event would start at 9am.“We have done everything that we could to still go ahead with the event. Please bear with us,” pleaded Banda in a voice full of emotion.The patrons then forced him to appease them by singing an acappella version of his hit song Nthawi. He complied.As of 3.15pm Sunday, performances were yet to resume with new music equipment being installed.
The anger in patrons made them to start throwing stones and bottles on stage. However, random interviews showed that patrons were not happy with the whole situation.
“I have travelled a long way to attend this festival and I have spent a lot of money. These organisers could have done better,” said a patron who only identified himself as John. Another patron, who refused to be identified, faulted the organisers for holding the event during the rainy season. “They should consider changing the dates to July or August otherwise we will continue experiencing these inconveniences. It’s not fair for us as patrons but it is also not prudent for the organisers. This doesn’t make business sense,” she said.
Eventually, from around 5.15pm, both Master KG and Diamond Platnumz gave impressive performances to the patrons who had waited.