A group of rogue bouncers is on the prowl in Harare spoiling many gigs, through harassment of revellers, theft and fraud forcing music promoters to issue a statement yesterday.
While bouncers are needed to control things in the rough turf of showbiz, the group is said to be overdoing it, much to the chagrin of promoters, who fear that revellers are being scared away.
At several shows the rogue bouncers have appeared, allege the promoters, there has been chaos, violence, theft, confusion, muggings as they try and take over the entrances, without permission.
Last weekend there was chaos at the Purple Festival hosted by Booties Pharmacy after some alleged bouncers ransacked the entrances.
According to the organisers they said a report was made.
The Association of Music Promoters in Zimbabwe (AMPZ), yesterday, said it was worried and that it will quickly take measures to restore sanity.
They said the promoters were now living in fear of those who self-appoint themselves as bouncers and these could easily injure both the promoter and the revellers if they realise no payment is coming their way.
“This is utterly unacceptable, and AMPZ condemns this behaviour in the strongest terms,” said the AMPZ chairman Patson Chimbodza.
“We are outraged by the behaviour of certain bouncers (names withheld) who are in most cases not hired and unknown to the show promoters, sometimes arriving unannounced, unlawfully deploying themselves at events ticket selling and entrance points leading to unwarranted criminal activities such as bulldozing patrons into events at lower rates than those stipulated by the promoter.
He said that the bouncers then start to work, demanding money from the organiser, if they do not get it, they turn violent, causing commotion and confusion, thereby disrupting the event.
“In the same spirit, we would like to conscientise the revellers or fans who attend these events to do the right thing and buy tickets from designated points at the venue and shun these bouncers.
“The bouncers are, thus, robbing incomes meant for the promoter. We are therefore, humbly requesting the authorities to put mechanisms at all events to control them,” he said.
Chimbodza said AMPZ is in the process of engaging the relevant authorities and seeking ways to deal with the issue.
“Reported cases are being given proper investigations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” explained Chimbodza, affectionately known as Chipaz in the music circle.
He said that AMPZ was established to promote, organise, unite and assist music and arts promoters engaged to conduct, regulate and guide their relations with affiliates, mainly musicians, local or international.
“Objected to the expressed purpose of protecting promoters’ welfare, providing awareness and an educational platform, developing promotional skills as well as providing legal services to Music and Arts Promoters in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“It is a self-regulating association with an obligation to ensure that promoters have access to information. Acknowledge the need and benefits of working together for a common purpose, train and equip promoters to come up with feasible and viable promotions.”
A workshop was held months ago between AMPZ and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe to discuss measures and way forward to deal with this menace.
However, some were of the opinion that since the promoters and events planners know the culprits, they should be brought to book.
“It’s surprising that we have the same story every weekend and now most promoters know about these bouncers. Why not shame them by naming them?
“Have they engaged the police at all events and what was their reaction? On social media there were two bouncers who were circulating as being identified as culprits. Why not deal with them and use them as an example? We are tired of the same story,” said a musician who commented on condition of anonymity.
Tryshence Sibanda (41) from CBD concurred that the culprits should be brought to book.
“There is a voice note of two bouncers circulating on social media who are confirming their illegal dealings, even boasting that they are untouchable. So with weekend shows happening tomorrow, I am sure plans have been put in place to deal with this problem,” he said.