By Bongani Ndlovu
Music lovers who thronged the Large City Hall car park on Friday to witness, especially Jamaica’s dancehall artiste, Busy Signal and Winky D perform are bitter following a melee which ensued after the latter refused to perform, disrupting the concert.
Busy Signal did not perform as a result, the same for South African Busiswa.
The Fly Africa Southern African Music Arts (SAMA) festival in Bulawayo was organised by Y2K Promotions.
Although the event was poorly organised as Y2K did not pay most artistes and service providers on time and only started setting up a few hours before the show, it started promisingly as local artistes, Sandra Ndebele, Killer T, Cal Vin, Mzoe 7 and Seh Calaz had kept the stage ablaze.
Major problems however began when one of the M.Cs, Babongile Sikhonjwa announced that Tocky Vibes would be performing.
As people geared up for the Mhai hit-maker’s act, they discovered he had not travelled to Bulawayo because of payment issues.
After moments of waiting, Mzoe 7 quickly took to the stage to cover up for Tocky and he did a sterling job.
The Gafa – Winky D was to make up for Tocky’s absence but that was not to be as he ended up not performing at all after encountering sound glitches which were likely caused by the change of set up to accommodate his live band.
Winky D who could not do his sound check before the show as event organisers delayed with the stage and sound set up, had challenges as his microphone and other equipment was not plugged well – something which saw the PA system switch off completely as he tried to perform.
An agitated Winky D who never compromises on sound gave up after a couple of trials and beckoned his band members off the stage, angering show goers who had parted with $10 to attend the festival.
They started throwing missiles on stage and in no time, the car park turned into a warzone.
As others were throwing missiles, opportunists took advantage to loot alcohol, snacks and other wares that were on sale.
One of the affected was Devine Assignments who had set up a bar to sell alcohol and other beverages.
The company’s director Biggie Chinoperekwei said they lost several thousands of dollars in stock.
“We’d come prepared but it’s one of those unforeseen things that happen in life. We’re still tallying how much was lost but as for now, all we can say is that it’s several thousands of dollars,” said Chinoperekwei.
The violence spread to Leopold Takawira Street with the hoodlums stoning and breaking into cars that were parked there while others overturned bins.
Y2K said they were astounded by the level of violence.
“I’ve never witnessed that level of violence. I’m shocked and confused to say the least. The issue of sound going quiet, in itself was not a justifiable reason for the level of violence that ensued,” said one of the organisers, Alex Marapara. The Chronicle