By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
In a typical case of music promoters failing to walk the talk, organisers of the ZARFEST held at the Borrowdale Race Course on Saturday were forced to eat humble pie after Timbaland’s no show.
Having made so much noise about the gig being “Africa’s biggest hip-hop night”, it turned out that the organisers had not done their homework. After all this is Harare, a city that never sleeps.
The capital was at the weekend awash with gigs happening left, right and centre. Talk about late nights since Friday when Sulumani Chimbetu celebrated his 29th birthday at the City Sports Centre alongside Oliver Mtukudzi, Dino Mudondo and Willom Tight.
And Saturday was packed with lots in store for revellers for the UEFA Champions League final which was on many screens in entertainment joints, Miss Teen Zim and of course the ZARFEST gig where Timbaland acted as a spoiler.
“Hie Zimbabwe I’m sorry I could not make it, but I promise I will make it up to you,” a video clip showing Timbaland like he was coming from a deep slumber revealed.
A riot could have easily erupted when Kenny Kunene, the brains behind the gig, lurched on stage and confirmed Timbaland’s no show. But all that peace-loving revellers could do was just to boo Kunene.
“Timbaland could not make it although we paid for his flight that had a technical fault after they had stopped over to refuel,” Kunene said without elaborating where Timbaland was holed up. If anything, the loud mouthed Kunene failed to convince anyone after giving flimsy reasons regarding Timbaland’s failure to turn up.
“It is very disappointing that ‘Timbs’ didn’t come but are the organisers telling us that they only got to know about this at the last minute?” one irate fan said.
“We knew it from the beginning. How come these guys were still busy at the immigration offices on the day of the event? I think there is more to it than just what they are telling us,” another fan noted. A music critic who requested anonymity said the whole gig was a strategy to “mop up” US dollars from entertainment-starved Zimbabweans.
Many of Timbaland’s fans including some local recording studios were irked that the master producer dampened the mood of what could have been “The Show” so far this year. Contacted for comment, Kunene thanked Zimbabweans for the support.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Zimbabweans for trusting me with their monies and the artistes put up a good show and for me that was the best show I could give. I can only improve on that next time,” Kunene said.
He, however, could not say exactly what he plans to do regarding Timbaland’s failure to show up.
“Look his (Timbaland) manager is here and once we get to South Africa we are going to see how we can work it out. What I can say is Timbaland will perform in South Africa,” he said.
Frankly speaking, Zimbabwean music lovers had a great time at the concert with rousing performances by Lil Kim and high energy acts by Fat Joe as well as Ciara.
When Lil Kim hit the stage dressed like a stripper with her black underpants showing, she did not do justice to her own songs which the Dj cut so quickly. Lil Kim who brags about being a “Queen Bee” gave her all and confessed how much she loved Zimbabweans. She then paid tribute to her “hommie” the late Notorious B.I.G by performing two of his club hits – One More Chance and Juice.
She then signed off with Billi Jean, a hit by the late King of Pop Michael Jackson. Up next was Ciara with her electric dances that left fans gaping in awe.
The “My Goodies” singer serenaded fans through a music journey that generated enough heat on and off the stage.
But off the stage, things were happening in a big way, the colourful crowd defied the chilly weather and dressed up for the gig. Ladies wore anything that’s trendy – tights, skinny jeans, jeggings and knee high boots – while men donned coats and cardigans. The Herald