The city of Blantyre has always been full of activities, including entertainment events. But of late, it is slowly being crowned as a place where unpredictability is the core when it comes to attendance of arts events and shows.
In an online poll Nation Publications Limited conducted on May 4 and 5, residents gave varying reasons why attending art events is no longer a big deal in Blantyre.
Some of reasons given were financial muscle, tight police patrols at night with the use of breathalyser, poor marketing of the events as well as lack of quality performances.
Shafick Boris wrote: “Blantyre is slowly dying due to many factors, one of which is politics. Everything is now in Lilongwe, including all major meetings. There is no financial muscle in Blantyre.”
Another Blantyre resident Ken Chikumbuso Vokhiwa said attendance at arts shows is dwindling in Blantyre due to alcohol consumption restrictions and police patrols.
“When you are caught drinking and driving the fine is K200 000. So, most people would rather stay and drink at home or local localities than going to a show,” he wrote.
On his part, Christian Zimba said there are a lot of factors that determines the success of an event.
“Organisers need to consider things like target audience, rival events and market, among others,” he wrote on Nation Publications Limited Facebook page.
However, another Blantyre resident said it is not entirely correct to generalise that Blantyre does not have the financial power to attend arts events.
Wanangwa Chizaso wrote: “Blantyre flows with youthful trending artists. For example, Eli Njuchi and Achina Gattah had sold out shows at Robin’s Park. Another artist failed to attract an impressive audience at the same venue. It is all about the power to attract an audience.”
In an earlier interview, actress and filmmaker Flora Suya had indicated that probably events’ organisers are getting it wrong somewhere in terms of marketing their events.
“We have abandoned the traditional way of marketing our events such as on radio, television and newspaper opting for social media. Not everyone who is our target is on social media,” she said.
On his part, Jai Banda of Entertainers Promotions, whose stable organised the Mlaka Maliro concert on April 30 that had a poor patronage said he was disappointed with the turn of events.
He could not attribute the poor turn up to anything. However, the same Mlaka Maliro had a sold out show a week later at Lilongwe Golf Club.
According to our online poll, 80 percent of respondents said Blantyre residents are no longer attending arts shows as much as they used to.
The other 20 percent argued otherwise, attributing the failure to attend shows to poor performances and lack of proper research and target for the events.
Over 600 people participated in the online poll which was conducted after two shows of Mlaka Maliro and Third Eye suffered poor patronage at Blantyre Sports Club and Robins Park respectively.