Sanity required in festival scheduling


 problem is brewing up. The hunger by event organisers in fixing their festivals has almost led to a scramble for the most desirable dates.

Desirable? Yes! The dates around month end present the most perfect time when event organisers are planning their events. It is normally a time when people are assured of having some disposable cash since it is around the time when the majority of working class Malawians get paid.

So for those who are into show-business, their obsession in having their events scheduled around such dates is well understood. There is nobody who would tolerate the idea of working days on end planning for an event and investing your money for something that you won’t reap anything out of. 

The entertainment sector is a business just any other. If you sacrifice a penny or two which you have earned elsewhere, the general feeling is that one should manage to recoup such an investment. Anything less will be classified as a loss.

Businesses don’t thrive on losses but profits. Therefore, any business-minded person seeks to cushion themselves in the best way possible when planning their investment. One such way of attaining an assurance is creating a safety net in the timing of the event.

It has come as no surprise therefore to see the scramble for dates that is among some of the most followed art and music festivals in the country. For the first time ever, the Sand Music Festival will take place simultaneously with the Tumaini Festival.

As the Tumaini Festival will be starting on November 1 at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa, so will the Sand Music Festival, just 100 kilometres away at the beautiful beaches of Kabumba Hotel in Salima.

Though organisers of the Tumaini Festival, which is free, complained about the clash, it appears no compromise could be fashioned between the two sections. As it is, fun lovers will have to devise a way to split their interests between November 1 and 3.

Menes le Plume, the brains behind the Tumaini Festival, said the national calendar of events should clearly assign all the dates major festivals and events are supposed to take place in the country.

He has since accused the Sandfest team of showing no respect to this document. How binding this piece of document is, is not clear. And whether it is acceptable to all players in the industry or its enforcing mechanisms remain as vague.

Many were, therefore, not surprised when the Sandfest director Lucius Banda dismissed any reference to it. To him, his event is a private thing which solely depends on his pocket for it to run. He said it is very unthinkable for anybody to come and determine terms of how it is carried out.

His assertions made business sense after all. How big is the stake that government has in the festival? If they jump and try to play referee on how and when it is conducted, won’t they be playing out of bounds?

Having agreed to disagree, the two events will go on as scheduled. And they are not the only festivals that will take place on similar dates even though others are not as big as Sandfest and Tumaini.

Owing to the popularity of the two events, certainly a huge section of their fans will lose out as a result of this crash. It is in this spirit that maybe in future, both parties can benefit from a little consultation between them.

It does not hurt. And the two stand to gain more as they have done. The two events are unique and because of that, it does not hurt to attend both. But unfortunately that opportunity will not be there this year.  

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