The Sunday Mail
“Ke Dezember Boss” is one of the in-form idioms across the region at present, signifying the festive mood.
Promoters are known to go all systems out, organising mouth-watering gigs as they seek to capitalise on the merry-making euphoria.
Sadly, local promoters appear to have other ideas.
They seem to be conspiring to dampen the festive season if current trends and indications are anything to go by.
Major shows involving visiting international acts, which were supposed to ignite and buttress the festive mood, have long been cancelled.
As if that is not enough, promoters are showing lack of confidence in local talent. None of them is daring to try fancy stuff with the lot.
This is despite the fact that local artistes working on home-grown concepts like the 2017 Castle Lager National Braai Day have proved beyond doubt that we can still have a memorable fiesta without foreign performers.
An assortment of artistes ranging from Tekno, Davido, Cassper Nyovest, Chris Martin and D Major were supposed to deliver staggered performances in the period in question.
English DJ Tim Westwood’s scheduled act at this month’s edition of Unplugged, which was held yesterday in the capital, was also cancelled at the eleventh hour.
Previously, revellers would have by now started pleading with promoters to slow down, of course fearing for their pockets.
The Sunday Mail Society spoke to several promoters, trying to ascertain why they have taken a back seat on a visibly vibrant moment of the showbiz calendar.
Ecstasy has already been created by the new political dispensation; one just needs to ride on it.
However, indications are a cocktail of factors, politics included, have held promoters back.
One who spoke anonymously said the coming on board of the “high-spending TripLife Entertainment cabal” affected everyone.
TripLife is believed to have been funded by one of the sons to former president of Zimbabwe.
Accordingly, no one was willing to compete with the “newbie”.
“TripLife had a massive financial muscle and when they came on board they booked several international acts to perform on the same dates/periods that some of us had already booked. We then tactically retreated, resulting in some of these cancellations,” revealed the promoter.
“Unfortunately, they have also proceeded to cancel all their shows following a dramatic turn of events in politics last month. This is turn has left the month of December dry. It is no longer possible for us to try and re-negotiate our gigs.”
Dee Nosh of 2 Kings Entertainment tells their side of the story.
“Davido was supposed to come for Jah Prayzah’s album launch but he had personal problems back home which forced us to postpone his gig to December but then again prevailing circumstances affected the gig.
“We also had another show with Chris Martin that was set for December 21 but the South African promoters we had partnered with cancelled their scheduled shows with the artiste thus we also had to follow suit,” said Dee Nosh.
A tired but fairly new concept for Kadoma folks is, nonetheless, still on the cards.
A New Year’s Eve Shut Down gig featuring high-flying Jah Prayzah and Winky D will be held at Kadoma Odyssey Hotel on December 31. Firebrand promoter Josphat Hozheri adds the escalating costs of bringing international acts have affected them.
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Censorship Board and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority charge high percentage fees that adversely affect the bottom-line for promoters.
It is worse when the show flops.
“If you bring in an international act and fail to attract huge numbers, it means you will make a loss, as has been the scenario with some of the gigs held recently. Furthermore, we now have rogue bouncers that sell fake tickets, which leads to us incurring heavy losses. Therefore, we have decided to take a break, strategising on ways to counter,” says Hozheri.
He further reckons the need to groom more local talents.
“It is now difficult to do big shows with local acts because only a few have the capacity to pull respectable crowds. For instance, if you want to fill a venue like the HICC, your line-up has to include either Jah Prayzah, Winky D or Tuku which again becomes monotonous.”
However, while Harare has to be content with local entertainers, the same is not the case for Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
Explosive events featuring international heavyweights have been lined up.
The annual “Kalawa Homecoming” bash slated for December 27 at Amazulu Stadium will see an array of top acts from South Africa including Professor, Oskido, DJ Fresh, Mpumi, Nokwazi, DJ Pepsi, Character, Stiff and AB Crazy among others, take part. Winky D, Killer T, Sandra Ndebele, and Mzoe7 are part of the contingent of local artistes for the gig.
In the resort town of Victoria Falls, the iflix Vic Falls Carnival which starts on December 29 running up to January 1, 2018 is set to be graced by a solid line-up that includes Black Coffee, Micasa, The Kiffness, Tresor, Mampi, Ammara Brown and Flying Bantu.