The Sunday Mail
ESTABLISHED in 2013, Unplugged Zimbabwe has grown to become one of the prime periodical concerts on the local entertainment scene.
Attaining a huge following over the years, it became the ultimate monthly experience for merrymakers in the capital, a scenario that will be missed as organisers take a different direction this year.
The event has been transformed into an international festival, which will be held three times a year, a major change set to shake up the showbiz calendar.
While the switch will leave thousands in search of other party options, the development will certainly spice up the festival circuit, which is already in need of a boost.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Society, Unplugged Zimbabwe co-founder, Chiedza Danha, said the change “was a long time coming” and felt this was the right time to take the leap having spent years nurturing the brand and learning about the creative industry.
“It may appear like a new direction but it’s been a long-standing ambition to develop a Zimbabwean event that has global relevance and reach. Ultimately growing an arts business that has continental and global impact is part of our own self-actualisation.
“The more world-class platforms we can give our local artistes the better, as they can watch and collaborate with international acts. Part of the bigger plan is to create a festival network and if we can successfully do that, it’s a win for the artiste community here,” said Danha.
She said they were confident of pulling off appealing international fetes, highlighting Hifa and the Vic Falls Carnival as examples of events that had made an impact globally.
“Some people may doubt our lofty dream but we remember where we started from and have the confidence now that we can do it. We know that to plan an event of that scale requires a lot of time, massive financial and human resources, so we will be focusing our energies towards this, working with a much larger team that has global festival experience,” she said.
Being a brand that is lifestyle driven, the new concept will not only focus on the music aspect as time will be spent on designing spaces and activities that will enhance the whole experience. Each event will be headlined by top international and local artistes as opposed to the traditional format, which mainly focused on upcoming talent.
“There will be a major focus on the visual aspect as we want our audiences to feel like they have been transported to another world the moment they arrive at the venue. We intend to build communities around certain activities that will become a quintessential part of the Unplugged Zimbabwe experience. This will allow us to leverage shared interests and potentially create micro events around such activities throughout the year.
“The newly designed kids zone will be a world of wonder and endless activities for children. There will be a teen zone, which is an arcade featuring members of the comic and gaming community as well as other fun activities such as outdoor bowling, giant checkers and giant Jenga among many other activities.”
She added that the culinary experience would be a mini food festival in its own right with the intent to have a very diverse selection of cuisine and live cooking demos. This will be located in a designated food courtyard built to specifications. It will also be close to a number of different specialised craft bars. The organisers said they are currently in talks with several international acts but will reveal more information at a later date when all paperwork is complete. The first Unplugged Festival will be held on April 20, the second one of August 11 with the final one set for December 14.
“We will have some ad hoc events throughout the year but our main focus is on delivering a mind blowing experience at our festivals.”