Sand festival excites Malawi govt, Mama Kadzamira attends

Minister of Tourism, Daniel Liwimbi, has said government is excited to see local people coming of age in organising arts and cultural events which are 100 percent Malawian.

Liwimbi was speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times at the end of the four-day Sand Festival which was held from Friday at Sunbird Nkopola in the southern lakeshore district of Mangochi.

Said the Minister: “We are very  happy because everything, including the proceeds from this [festival] remains here. Government has set ways to upscale the country’s economy and one of them is tourism through arts and culture.”

Liwimbi further said it was encouraging to see that the festival was giving more room to local artists to be part of the event, which has clocked three years now.

Mama Kadzamira was also there.-Photo by Kimpho Loka/Nyasa Times

The minister, who was spotted enjoying every minute of the fest, from its opening to the end, at times joining the patrons dancing to the music, also applauded the local artists for their performances.

“All the Malawian artists who were here did their best in performances. I enjoyed them all and I must admit we have good performers in Malawi,” said the minister.

On the other hand, he observed that organisers need to improve in some areas, before and during the festival, among them advertising to woo more people to the festival.

While commending National Bank of Malawi and Airtel for their sponsorship towards the festival, he called upon more companies to fully support the Sand Festival as it is the pride of the Malawian nation and its people.

The music carnival was organised by the country’s music icon Lucius Banda in collaboration with Sunbird Tourism and brought together over 40 local musicians as well as a couple of international artists.

On the night of its opening, some of the artists that performed included Moses Makawa, Katelele Ching’oma, Dan Lu, Lulu and Blakjak.

Despite having poor programming, the festival reached its climax on Saturday when among others, people had the chance to watch the only international headliner, South Africa’s Professor, who made it to the festival.

Initially, another South African musician, DJ Cleo, and Zambia’s General Kanene were among the other international headliners that were expected to perform at the fest, but to the disappointment of the patrons, they were not present.

“I was looking forward to Cleo’s performance but was let down because he did not show up,” one of the interviewed patrons, Temwa Chikoti who had travelled all the way from the central city of Lilongwe told Nyasa Times.

Asked why some of the artists who were listed on promotional materials did not show up, Lucius, who is the festival’s coordinator said it was unfortunate that some artists did not show up as advertised.

“We experienced this because we made a mistake of enrolling promotions before some of the artists signed contracts,” he disclosed.

“We had verbal agreements with most of the artists, but the time we got them to sign the papers, others had already signed other contracts,” he said. “We failed to reach an agreement with General Kanene because he had a double booking.”

While accepting that they did not do well in many areas, Lucius said through such experiences there were a lot of lessons that would be used to improve on future events.

Other artists that performed on Saturday were Black Missionaries, Alleluyah Band, Piksy, Armstrong, Tay Grin, Young Kay, Tigris and BarryOne.

The Sunday performances saw the mixture of gospel and secular and in the afternoon, the patrons, who included former president Kamuzu Banda’s official hostess Mama Tamanda C. Kadzamira, were treated to music from Waliko Makhala, Wycliffe Chimwendoh, George Mkandawire, Thocco Katimba, Limbani Simenti and Great Angels.

During the night there were performances by among others Maskal, Anthony Makondetsa, Black Missionaries, Fikisa, Makhirikhiri and Davis of Edgar ndi Davis.

Throughout the festival, there were also renowned DJs from the country’s top radio stations and clubs including Diktator of Radio 2 FM, FM 101’s DJ Boo and Malick, Capital FM’s Panther and DJ Scarper from Zanzi in Lilongwe.

Having spent about K38 million to put up the festival, the organisers admitted that they did not make profits from the festival where patrons were paying K10,000 for a four-day ticket and K2,500 for a day.

“The turn-out was not that satisfying, but I am happy that we achieved what we wanted to achieve and that is to entertain the people. It hasn’t been a dull moment, people had fun throughout,” said the musician-cum-businessman, who said the next Sand Festival will be “massive”.

Patrons enjoying their time at the Sand Festival.-Photo by Kimpho Loka/Nyasa Times
Black Missionaries_ keyboardist Chizondi Fumulani captured off-stage.-Photo by Kimpho Loka/Nyasa Times
Chimwendoh performed on Sunday afternoon.-Photo by Kimpho Loka/Nyasa Times

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