Greed, deceit, fraud mar festival

ORGANISERS of last weekend’s Lake July DJ Festival held at Lake Chivero’s Hunyani Hills have accused DJs that did not pitch up for the event of being greedy. This comes after merrymakers described the three-day event as a fraud after most of the major acts did not show up despite being the draw cards on the event’s posters.Speaking to The Sunday Mail Leisure, one of the organisers, Tawanda Madzara said the DJs pulled out demanding more money after realising the event’s potential.

“Some of these DJs had agreed to come and play for free because we wanted them to mentor the upcoming acts who were participating but they ended up demanding payment.

“Another headline DJ whom we had agreed to pay a certain fee shifted goal posts and started demanding more money when he realised that the event was bigger than he had anticipated,” said Madzara.

Tawanda Madzara
Tawanda Madzara

Some of the top DJs who were on the line-up but failed to show up include Stavo, Candyman, Storm, Leon and Dee Nosh.

On the other hand, the aforementioned DJs are singing a totally different tune, blaming the organisers for failing to pay them for their services.

DJ Candyman said he pulled out because the organisers had agreed to pay him before his performance but they failed to do so.

“These guys were supposed to give me US$100 to play for an hour, but when I realised that they were not willing to pay I decided to pull out.

“Imagine the fact that they used my name to advertise their event but wanted me to play for free. That is not reasonable because I don’t play for free unless it’s a charity event or there is some sort of agreement,” said Candyman.

DJ Stavo said he had several contractual disagreements with the organisers.

“These guys went on to advertise their event with my name on it before we had agreed on anything and when I asked them why they had done that they said they would sort it out,” he said.

Templeman on stage
Templeman on stage

“We then agreed on a figure and how they were supposed to pay but closer to the day, they started saying they could not afford to pay me because they had exceeded their budget. They even begged me to come just for an appearance but I refused because these guys just wanted to use me for free,” said Stavo.

Ray Dizz, who was supposed to battle with South Africa-based DJ Leon on day one, with the latter failing to pitch up, had agreed on a fee that was to be paid prior to the event but was told he would be paid after the show.

He said he got to play just for the fun of it, but was yet to be paid by the time of going to print.

“They even contacted me to come and play on Saturday but I had other engagements so I could not come through for that.”

However, despite all the drama that was happening in the background, the festival outcome was satisfactory.

With the first night proving to be disastrous as the sound system was not up to scratch, disappointing the few patrons in attendance. The Bonfire Party might as well be written off as a non-event despite a captivating stage set-up and affordable beverages. The persistent sound glitches left patrons feeling like they had been robbed.

Considering that start, no one could have predicted the outcome of the second day of the event.

Day two was the highlight of the festival, attracting thousands of merrymakers who came to enjoy the Beach Party.

The response was overwhelming to the extent that parking was a nightmare, with some fun lovers parking their cars as far as Bulawayo road and walking the rest of the way to the venue. The traffic congestion was also a pain with movement in and out of the venue being next to impossible. With most of the headline DJs pulling out of the event because of payment issues, the line-up proved to be weak, with most of the upcoming DJs who took to the stage failing to rise to the occasion.

But despite the poor displays on the decks, the crowd was in carnival mood and danced the night away.

There was a DJ battle segment, where upcoming acts were showcasing their talents behind the decks.

Towards midnight, Templeman and Garry B took to the stage and showed why Immortal Movement is one of the best DJ crews on the land with a playlist that had the crowd going wild.

Thereafter came Smiley’s Legendary Sound and Australia-based Infinity Sound who both drove the crowd into delirium with electric sets that created an explosive atmosphere.

However, most DJs played almost similar playlists, opting to play hit songs of the moment, and the music tended to be monotonous. Only a few DJs who included Professor and Young Fresh brought variety to their sets.

Although Sunday did not attract large numbers like the previous day, the turnout was not bad and the atmosphere was great for the picnic concept.

Madzara said they are happy with the response they got from both the corporate world and the public.

“We did not expect so much support from corporates considering that this is a new project but many companies came through and partnered us. I also want to applaud all the people who came in their numbers because they are the ones who made this festival a success.

“We had a slow start but the second day was a game changer because people came in their thousands, which was overwhelming because we never expected such a huge turnout,” said Madzara.

He said the first day’s glitches were caused by incompatibility between the electricity source and the sound system.

“We realised that the power source was failing to match the sound system so the following day we resorted to using a generator instead and everything worked out smoothly.”

He said they had taken notes from the event and would use them to plan for a bigger and better festival next year.

“I think next year we will use multiple venues at the Lake to accommodate various genres and to also avoid the congestion we experienced on the second day of the festival.”

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