Yeukai Karengezeka-Chisepo Arts Correspondent
It is that time of the year once again when we take time to look at what happened in the world of the arts in 2017. While some arts organisers smiled all the way to the bank, others were left with egg on their face, counting loses. Below are the monumental flops of the year that made it to our arts section of the newspaper.
Tarrus Riley concert
With the hype and marketing of the show, the organisers might have thought that they had hit the lottery jackpot but alas, the show did attract a paltry crowd as imbibers opted for the Castle Beer Festival which was being held across town.
Music fans opted to fork out money for Castle braai with tickets pegged at $5 whereas for the Riley’s show ordinary ticket was $20, $50 for VIP and $100 for VVIP. However, the “Just The Way You Are” hit-maker gave a sterling performance as he belted out his hit songs such as “Lion Paw”, “Contagious” and “Africa Awaits” among others.
Riley and legendary saxophonist Dean Fraser, supported by the Blak Soil Band, shared the stage with local acts Jah Prayzah, House of Stone, Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love, Killer T and Gary Tight.
Babes Wodumo gig
South African star Babes Wodumo’s maiden gig themed ‘One Big Party’ held in September at Alexandra Sports Club was a huge flop after a handful of fans turned up. The “Wololo” singer wowed the few fans with her performance.
She shared the stage with Diana Samkange and Alexio Kawara. It so happened that Jah Prayzah, one of the biggest crowd pullers had a free concert at nearby venue Long Cheng Plaza for the carnival cultural show and costume parade so Babes Wodumo could not stand the heat.
The inaugural Gango festival held at Belgravia Sports Club in August failed to live up to its billing, after it attracted a measly crowd and ended prematurely. The music and meat fiesta organisers Proma Events angered fans for ending the event under unclear circumstances.
Upcoming dancehall chanter Nutty O, Mbeu, Progress Chipfumo, urban groover ExQ and Andy Muridzo performed at the festival
Arts sector witnessed the birth of another baby Zimbabwe Arts Festival, a brainchild of Rumbidzai Mudenge. The two-day arts fete had a low turnout as it was poorly organised despite having heavy weights on the line up like superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, Ammara Brown, Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Sulumani Chimbetu.
The event had various activities like workshops in dance, music and art. There were zumba classes, painting lessons, gospel hour, martial arts exhibitors, poetry and Dj Slams. Mudenge promised to improve on marketing the event.
This year’s edition of the annual festival was no better than last year. The numbers were very low again raising a lot of questions about the organisers of the event.
Is it because people are yet to know the purpose of the festival running its seventh year? The shutdown show had performers like ExQ, Soul Jah Love. However the “Pamamonya” singer disappointed fans as he failed to live up to expectations. Other artistes like Takura, Tinaye, Gonyeti, Gemma Griffiths, CalVin and Tripple D were part of the festival.
The consolation of the festival was the inaugural Zim hip-hop summit which proved worthwhile as it lived up to its billing with high attendance from the hip-hop sector and stakeholders.
Celebrated musical group ZimPraise Choir had its worst nightmare of the year at a time when they were celebrating a decade in the music industry. Dubbed ZimPraise Gospel and Music Festival, the five day fete scheduled at the giant 60 000 seater stadium had low numbers.
However, it should be acknowledged that ZimPraise chief executive officer Joseph Madziyire managed to bring in the United States preacher and senior pastor of the Potter’s House in Dallas Texas T.D Jakes.
The overzealous organising team also had pegged tickets at $10 and $100 for a seminar with the US preacher. To save themselves from shame they later announced that the festival had been made free, but still a handful of people turned up.
Some analysts said the event flopped because it was wrong timing considering that it was the same time the biggest festival of the year Harare International Carnival was taking place and it attracted hundreds of thousands of fans.