Financial problems cripple event organisers


Land of failed events is arguably the tittle that could have fitted Malawi last year following failure of a number of shows to take place.

Neligo Women Choir

Neligo Women Choir performing at one of the music shows that goofed at Robins park last year.

In entertainment circles, both organisers and fans felt the pinch for financial losses. While other events were cancelled at the eleventh hour, others gave people a raw deal due to low turnout and not meeting people’s expectations.

Among the major shows that were cancelled despite advance tickets going on sale were the Sipho Makhabane concert in August last year and the Mafikizolo show.

Makhabane, one of South Africa’s celebrated gospel artists, turned up at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe but to his dismay, he did not perform after organisers, National Product magazine, failed to meet the costs for the venue.

Mafikizolo, also from the rainbow nation, failed to perform in Malawi after organisers KCP and Fepo Entertainment Music Company failed to land sponsorship for the group’s two concerts which were scheduled for 22nd and 23rd December at BICC in Lilongwe and Robin’s Park in Blantyre respectively.

As for the events that took place but left a lot to be desired, a show that involved South Africa’s house maestro Professor at Civo Stadium on 24th December ended prematurely amidst low patronage.

Two months earlier, an all urban artists music party organised by Unique Arts Entertainment at Portuguese Club in Lilongwe left patrons dissatisfied.

In all these events a common drawback was lack of a solid financial source. This is in consideration of the fact that for an event to sell it involves intensive media campaigns, involving trending artists, and an attractive venue among other factors that required deep pockets.

Kimpho Loka, Nde’feyo Entertainment Public Relations Officer, emphasizes on the need for good budget if an event is to be successful.

Kimpho Loka

Kimpho Loka : Proper planning is a must.

“The biggest challenge event organisers face is inadequate funding. You need a good budget to cover venue, artists, marketing, and security, among the major expenses. If you look at all events that flop(ed), the reasons were unpaid venues and unpaid artist fees. Low turnout happens mainly due to poor marketing as the main factors,” said Loka in an interview with Malawi24.

An event organiser who opted for anonymity concurred with Loka on lack of funding.

However he went on to argue that Malawian artists do not have a pull factor hence events flop.

“Malawian artists are underpaid, so regardless of how much an event is promoted Malawian artists are not respected because of their financial standing. Hence it is hard for fans to treat them like celebrities,” he said

He added that a celebrity is associated with fancy and classy lifestyle which is not the case with most local artists.

“People get excited when an international artist turns up in Malawi because they meet their desired grade of a celebrity,” he said.

True to the lack of funding argument, all events that were bankrolled by companies were a success. Carlsberg pumped money into the Urban Music Party at College of Medicine Sports Complex last year where big names in local urban music were involved. Their other events; two white parties in Blantyre and Lilongwe sold out.

Nde’feyo Entertainment also has a success story to tell in events organising. They annually organise Urban Music Party (UMP) Awards which always meet people’s expectation, all because of proper funding.