Over the weekend the country hosted two shows of Jamaican reggae artist Lutan Fyah. The first one was held on Friday the Robin’s Park in Blantyre and the second and last one was at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday.
Using every standard measure possible, the two shows can hardly be labelled a success. The uncertainty surrounding the arrival of the artist itself did not inspire confidence. If anything it only managed to put off some music lovers who had initial interest to patronise the shows.
Misleading dates for his arrival were given to the extent that by Thursday afternoon some had given up if at all their favourite artist was ever touching down on Malawi soil. The organisers efforts on the social media in trying to make people believe he was arriving any moment looked nothing but desperate.
First it was announced Lutan would arrive in Malawi on Tuesday. People waited on of his arrival the whole day but it never came. By evening reports filtered in that he had missed his flight and he will be on the flight tomorrow.
The next day still there was no trace of the Jamaican in Malawi and no word was given as an excuse. It was at this point that members of the media started smelling something out of order. But unfortunately, the organisers elected to offer the media a blackout too. Leaving them to their devices to be speculating and guessing what was really going on.
At this point it was clear that the whole thing will eventually come to a disastrous end. The whole organisation was characterised with serious elements of amateurism and lacked any sense of real direction.
It was with little wonder that even after his eventual arrival on Thursday afternoon through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, the show at Robin’s Park on Friday went to be a disappointing spectacle.
Reports and pictures from the social media painted a very sorry picture of the situation at the show. To the extent that the patrons who turned up for the show would literally be counted. The pictures showed of huge gapping unfilled spaces in the vast hall.
A supporting cast which featured some of the most followed musical acts in the country would not help them savage the day. Groups which own their own are able to command huge patronage at the same venue were not enough to turn the magic even after the additional of Lutan.
This smacked of nothing but lack of proper marketing and promotional strategies by the organisers. It is like they brought Lutan as a specimen for some trial. An experience which predictably turned out so drastic.
Confirmed reports indicate some acts which performed during the Blantyre show opted out of the second show in Lilongwe for fear of putting further strain on the organisers after failing to honour their contractual agreement of paying them after the first show.
There was just no money. And those groups are still being owed till now. Thanks to their patience and good manners they have opted not to make the issue a circus or a media sensation. But to put their benevolence aside, this is a huge professional glitch.
The industry will never grow if such contractual obligations will continue being swept under the carpet in the name of brotherhood. Let us attach the required seriousness in everything we do if this industry is to grow.
Lutan deserves our apology. Our ambassadors who facilitated his coming to the Warm of Africa have let both the Malawi nation and the artist down. For all his good qualities, the artist deserved a better reception and warm welcome that others before him have enjoyed.n