Awilo weakest link at Malawi Sand Music Festival: Lucius Banda says ‘immense success’

Between 27th and 29th October 2017, fun seekers from Malawi and other countries converged at the Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel in the Lakeshore District of Salima where the annual Sand Music Festival (SMF) annually takes place.

Lucius Banda: Sand Festival huge success

There have been mixed reactions towards this year’s festival with some goers saying it was a flop but the organisers have described this years event as a huge success.

Some fans who patronised the concert says it didn’t live up to its billing following the poor performance by Awilo Longomba who happened to be the main headliner.

The fun-seekers blamed Longomba for using a pre-recorded CD instead of performing live.

Impakt Events Executive Director Lucius Banda Exclusively told Nyasa Times on Tuesday that despite some of the minor hicups, the festival was a marvel.

“To be honest with you, the festival was a huge success. The festival was a success interms of turn up, organisation,  performances I mean almost everything,” said Banda.

Commenting on the issue of the main headliner Longomba whose performance was a disappointment to many, Banda admitted that Longomba didn’t live up to its expectations.

“Let us accept that Awilo didn’t live up to expectations but we can’t entirely blame him. He didn’t come with his band which is huge as well as his dancers so the coordination wasn’t good with the dancers and the DJ we organised for him. This is because there was no enough time for rehearsals” said Banda.

Longomba who is now based in England only came with his Manager.

“He is staying in England so with the limited resources that we had this time around, we could not manage to bring the entire band. That could have hit over K20 Million just for air travel,” explained Banda.

Awilo Longomba left the stage prematurely after the audience started shouted at him to leave the stage.

But Banda claimed he is the one who asked the artists to call off his performance.

“After hearing people shouting that he leave, I ordered him to jump off the stage. We as Impakt Events, we do what our fans ask us to do. People were shouting achoke! Achoke! [He leaves! He leaves!] a language he doesn’t understand and he asked what it mean’t so I had to chip in,” he said.

“There was no other option suppose we had forced him to continue what if he was stoned? I could have been answerable” added the Impakt Events Director.

However, Banda said alot of lessons have been learnt and has promised that next year: “We will engage a more energetic artist”.

Banda has since asked those who patronise music festival to get used that many international artists world wide now use pre-recorded CD.

He therefore revealed that even Thulasizwe from South Africa used a CD at this year’s SMF.

“Several artists nowadays uses CD’s even Mafikizoro, Uhuru, Professor and many others. And what I can tell people is that it is not all the genres that fits to use CD for example reggae, you can’t perform entirely relying on a CD,” he added.

Meanwhile, Banda has saluted all the artists who performed at this year’s SMF which happened to be the 7th edition.

“It will be disrespectful not to recommend our own Malawian artists and other international artists who displayed a good performance. We also had some good dances, acrobatics, boxing and many other activities that made the festical colourful,” said Banda.

He also thanked companies and individuals who provided them with financial and material support in organizing the event.

“Let me thank all those who partnered us and I would like to ask some who pulled out to come back next year. Some pulled out because last year we had a challenge interms of organisation but it wasn’t our fault but the rains, no one can control nature,” concluded Banda.

Some of the artists who performed at this year’s festival included the famous Malawi’s leading reggae group Black Missionaries, Skeffa Chimoto, Lulu, Great Angels Choir, Patience Namadingo among others.

The festival returns next year and according to Banda, preparations will start early to overcome some of the challenges they encountered this year.

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