Sand Festival chief sound engineer Shadreck Kalukusha has said challenges that marred this year’s event at Sunbird Livingstonia Beach in Salima was a result of a number of factors.
In an exclusive interview, he said the first major problem was the late arrival of a backup generator, which proved faulty and organisers failed to fix.
Said Kalukusha: “So, we had to improvise with Escom [Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi] lines which usually are enough, but they were too far from the stage to draw out enough lines to power that strong equipment.
“As a result, we did not run on full power on Friday and by 5am on Saturday, the line eventually succumbed to too much voltage being drawn and not enough being supplied. Some fuses blew up. That was when Lucius [Banda] stopped performing.”
The technician—who said his profile includes working with Qoncept Creatives, Lake of Stars, Sand Festival and Tumaini Festival as well as international acts such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the two times that Morgan Heritage and Busy Signal have been in Malawi and now Diamond—added that although another generator came, the challenges were far from over.
He said: “Saturday morning, we called Lilongwe for more electricity lines to reach the stage and luckily a generator arrived. However, by the time we got the generator, it started raining and we had to dismantle certain things in order to save sensitive equipment.
“It was too windy to take chances. In fact, a lot of the stage decor and some tents were blown away. After the rains calmed down around midnight, we did two days’ work in two hours. The stage was up by 2.30 am.”
Kalukusha said the progress led to Lulu doing a sound check and Diamond’s manager was impressed with the sound, likening it to a CD sound.
There were no interruptions on Sunday, with performances progressing smoothly until the curtain drew on the event at around 10:30 pm.
The hitches at the festival prompted a heated exchange between two of the country’s big guns in show business, Lucius Banda of Impakt Events, organisers of the event, and Jai Banda who owns Entertainers Promotion.
Lucius apologised to the patrons for the hitches. n