Lake July roars back 

Takudzwa Chihambakwe
WHEN Tawanda Madzara burst onto the scene spearheading the inaugural edition of the Lake July Festival back in 2016, he was dismissed as a novice in the game.
But he saw something that no other promoter had noticed at the time – a new crop of party lovers.
Like a river that has burst its banks – Madzara’s event swept away everything in its path.
Revellers dumped their usual merrymaking joints and headed to Lake Chivero in their thousands, besieging the usually serene Zimparks protected Lake Chivero to create sweet memories.
However, some had bad memories, mainly to do with car break-ins and traffic congestion due to poor organisation.
The second edition held last year was better in terms of organisation – Madzara and his troops had rectified the parking and security issue.
And now, with just over a month to go before the third edition of this unique festival, at the same venue, what is in store for fun-lovers?
Already, Madzara has revealed that Lake July, which takes place from July 27 to July 29, will have a foreign flavour to bolster abundant local talent. One of the acts is a Swedish outfit, Infite Sound.
“Of course we had minor setbacks in our inaugural event, which caused last year’s event to be inconsistent, but we have partnered with Zimparks and we are certain this year is going to be the best ever Lake July.
“Zimparks has allocated us a secure seven-hectare piece of land for parking and we have also included a free shuttle service for everyone who wants to be part of the festival,” said Madzara.
Besides music, what else is the pull factor at Lake July?
“In line with our festival programming, Lake July Festival is a weekend plan mainly focused on domestic tourism.
We have partnered with those in the hospitality industry around the lake and those situated within and outside Harare who can offer accommodation packages to motivate people to book for the whole week.
“The pull factor for us is the lifestyle element that comes with having the festival outside the hustle and bustle of the city. There will be lots of fun and educational activities throughout the three days, apart from the musical factor,” he explained.
Some of the activities lined up include tug of war, beach volleyball, five-a-side soccer, zumba and athletics.
However, the event comes a week after the energy sapping Harare International Carnival, which could be a problem.
Madzara said he is not fazed by this and believes he can still lure people to the lake even after partying daily during the carnival week.
“This years’ event is being held before the country’s elections under the theme, ‘Unified festivity, let’s party together’. Our main focus is for people to set aside differences, come together in unison for one thing – to celebrate life and cultural diversity by the lakeside. On the last day of the festival, which is the family beach picnic, we will be inviting various orphanages to be a part of the event.”

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