This year’s Sand Music Festival which is set for Sunbird Livingstone Beach in Salima district is expected to cost organizers between K55 and K60 million, it has been revealed.
The organizers, Impact Events, have since appealed for tax-holidays from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), arguing imposing taxes on international artists negatively impacts on local entertainment industry.
The organizers have also bemoaned lack of support from corporate world, which is making it tough for various entertainment events managers to give the audience quality events.
Impact Event’s Chairperson, Lucius Banda told the media in Blantyre on Sunday that all is set for the festival which, unlike in the previous years, will have a line-up of seven international artists with Awilo Longomba as main headliner.
“We are still having challenges with sponsorship. We are not getting enough support from Malawians as it should be. But all in all, we are grateful to Sunbird for the support over the years and other companies that are coming in to support the festival,” said Banda.
Banda, a local veteran musician, said this year they have adopted an electronic mode of ticketing which will help to curb fraud and ticket forgery.
“Our tickets are in form of electronic cards which will be swiped on the machine placed at the gates. The machine will be connected to computers which will be used to verify the ticket details. We believe with this mode of ticketing, we will be able to improve on revenue but also curb fraud.”
On tax-holidays, Banda said it was disappointing that international artists will have to be charged taxes on their performance fees. He then appealed for tax holidays which he said would necessitate the growth of the entertainment industry.
“Our entertainment industry is small; it requires huge investment if we are to start reaping profits from it. It is therefore our appeal to the authorities to give us tax-holidays until such moment when we will start making profits. The tax-holidays will help us to invest in the industry,” he added.
The organizers have line up Congolese musician, Awilo Longomba as main festival international headliner. Other international acts are South Africa’s Thulasizwe and Professor; Zambia’s General Kanene; Zimbabwe’s dancehall artist Seh Calaz; J Stavo, and D-Naff from Namibia.
Unlike other years, this time around the organizers are keeping the list of local artists at minimal to ensure patrons to the show have more time to enjoy performances from the billed acts.
“This year we will have few local acts so that people have more time enjoying the performances. And we will be strict on time factor as well. Those who will be late for their performances won’t be allowed to perform.”
The festival will be held from 27th to 29th October at Livingstonia Beach in Salima district.
Impact Events has been managing the festival for the past seven years with Sunbird Tourism Limited as its long serving sponsor. Other companies supporting the event this year include Carlsberg Malawi, Soft Maheu from Zambia, Safe Motherhood, and PSI.
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