Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Friday, 7 December 2012

Blacks Stumbles at Memorial Show

The intention was good.
To show that the event is for everyone, even the aviation department in Chileka offered a pitch within the runway zone, 6 times as large as the usual place where the Memorial Shows in remembrance of the fallen greats, Evison Matafale, Msamude and Gift Fumulani has become an annual fixture.
The turn up was so huge; I guess in overwhelmed the organisers of the show. People trooped to Chileka in Buses, Lorries and large scores footed to the venue. But the show despite its good intentions was a dud.
The line-up of those who were to perform was also impressive, the headliner of course The Black Missionaries – which has become a full package these days with Anthony ‘Mr. Cool’ Makondetsa, Moda Fumulani, Yanyanani Chumbu, Khonzie Masimbe and Toza Matafale – and other artists like Kapirintiya, Dan Lu, Agorrosso, Maskal etc...
As I was getting in, Agorrosso had already read the signs and he was leaving the venue citing unconducive environment for nature of his music which was going to render his performance a sham.
My rough ‘gestimation’ would be that, it was an open ground of between 1000 square metres and the sound equipment in use was fit for a 100 square metre enclosed place – and the attempt to use it at the show last Sunday proved to be a big letdown.
This big problem was further compounded by non-stopping power cut.
Proving an act of total lack of preparation, a single cord was tapping power some 100 metres away and crossing the tar mark road leading to the Chileka Airport before passing through the crowd.
Depending on how vehicles would wheel past the cord, or feet of crowds getting entangled with it, the cord could be easily unplugged resulting in cutting shot performances of musicians, leading to an abrupt end of the show.
Strangely, he just left without even informing the organisers because the Master of Ceremony still called him on stage some 6PM when he had left 2 hours before.
Now there were over 10,000 fans and what was laughable is that the sound equipment used had a compromised quality owing to the nature of the venue performed. Meaning; the equipment was fit for closed venue like a hall.
The magnetism of the memorial show is so huge that you expect companies to start jumping onboard the wagon and strangely no one seems to be interested; no Airtel for example as I know this one likes being associated with musical acts.
Imagine if marketers were to be innovative and cultivate such large crowds by ensuring that the little K20 in their pockets is used to buying something right at the place where the act is unfolding.
Collaboration in such shows helps to contain situations like overwhelming crowd where top-of-the-range equipment that can carter for stadium performance can be hired, even from outside the country.
Looking at this event and the huge crowd that it attracts, I guess the Department of tourism should not be told that it is supposed to take over or work with organisers so that it becomes a national arts event.
There are lives at stake at such places and I don’t think if people will one day decide to become unruly due to such technical hitches, organisers will be able to manage the situation.
There is a need to go back on the drawing table and ensure that there is control over people not to mention safety.
Imagine over 10,000 people were packed in razor-sharp wire fence and there was only one entrance which was also the exit of just a metre’s width. In case of a scuffle, chances of losing lives were high and perhaps the nation would realise that there was need to partake in the organisation of the event.
Perhaps the big letdown would be its association with the presence of marijuana smoking and excessive alcohol imbibing which companies or organisations as well as government would not want to associate with.
I think this is the more reason why more than one group, in this case The Black Missionaries, should be organising this show.
Of course when they were starting the memorial show, The Blacks were able to organise it, but now it has outgrown them and they cannot properly organise it any more.
Now the show in Lilongwe organised in collaboration with Mungo Park tomorrow promises to be full of fireworks and I can foresee large gathering as well.
I am positive that the lessons learnt last week should be a step to success for tomorrow’s show.
Otherwise Drumming Pen celebrates with the rest the lives of Evison Matafale as well as Msamude and Gift Fumulani.