Themed around promoting tourism and wildlife conservation, the recently held MTC OAS1SONE Skeleton Coast festival failed to live up to its billing, only attracting around 300 people daily.
The event was a partnership between MTC, OAS1SONE, the Wild Africa Fund and Namibian Tourism.
Festival attendee Joel Shipanga expressed disappointment after paying N$150 for a ticket only to find an empty venue on Friday afternoon.
“Aaye, imagine I hiked from Walvis Bay, paid my ticket nxa, I was waiting for Tate Buti to perform but he did not show up even,” he said.
THE FESTIVAL PARTNERS
Founder of OASISONE and the Rockstar Group Jandre Louw has in the past allegedly been involved in a similar failed event, the Tribe One Dinokeng Music Festival, which took place in South Africa 10 years ago.
According to an article by Daily Maverick, the Tribe One Dinokeng Music Festival, which failed terribly under Louw’s management, cost residents of the City of Tshwane at least R45 million and resulted in an empty field.
In 2016, Louw was allegedly also part of the organisers that promised to bring American R&B singer R Kelly to Namibia, which did not happen.
Despite this, in November, MTC brushed off criticism for partnering with Louw, saying the the company had known him for over a decade, and worked with him on the Namibia Annual Music Awards.
Louw last month, when asked about the 2014 failed event, said: “The festival mentioned is well noted in public record at the time in 2014.”
CHANGES OF SLOT
On Friday, some artists like Tate Buti, Top Cheri, Script and others could not perform and their performances were postponed to the following day due to the low turnout.
MTC spokesperson Erasmus Nekundi on Saturday acknowledged the sluggish beginning, but affirmed that the show must go on.
In an exclusive interview with unWrap.online on Saturday, Nekundi emphasised the company’s commitment to delivering a memorable experience for festival-goers.
The festival’s official launch featured the Wild Africa Fund’s ‘Music for Wildlife’ campaign, an inspiring initiative contributing to conservation efforts in Namibia.
One of the vendors, who asked to remain anonymous, said they made a loss on sales, because there were no customers.
“I don’t think I am the only one, but our sales from that cashless system were really, really bad. Maybe it’s because of lack of customers, but the event did not go well.”
NAMIBIANS MISSED OUT
UnWrap.online reached out to some of the artists who performed to share their experiences.
Singer Chikune expressed having a blast despite the low turnout, emphasising her happiness to contribute to the cause of making music for wildlife.
“It has been a long time since I was on stage, so I didn’t really have high expectations from my side. I was just happy to be a part of the cause, which is making music for wildlife,” she said.
She praised the stage set-up, the band and the performances, and said she regrets that Namibians missed out.
“I also used the opportunity to feel out some new music and the response was positive. It’s a pity our people really missed out,” she said.
Artist Sunny Boy said it was a great initiative to start with, bringing many local artists together on one big stage and mixing them with international artists.
“As any other artist, your expectation to perform at this type of show is for it to be a fully packed crowd, so you show people how far your talent can go,” he said.
Sunny Boy said it was really massive that MTC and the organisers did a great job but it was heartbreaking that people did not show up.
“It’s not a good thing performing on an empty stage. These kinds of things happen, but we are professionals, we do what we have to do. It doesn’t matter whether there are five people or 5 000 people in the crowd. I will still perform because I love doing it and even appreciate the five that showed up,” he said.
Sunny Boy recognised the challenges of competing events which affected the turnout and highlighted the unity among artists.
“There can be so many events around the same area which can also result in low turnout. Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some. It’s just like that. I am glad that we, the artists, supported each other and cheered each other, especially during the performances, so we can have hope and this also brought up the unity among artists,” he said.
He urged local artists to continue supporting and loving each other.
Ma /Gaisa artist Jaliza, who performed on Sunday night, said it was a great initiative and she had fun.
“I would just like to thank MTC for having me, it was amazing,” she said.
Unwrap.online reached out to Tate Buti for comment on not performing, who responded: “Tate Buti has no comment.”
Questions sent to MTC and OAS1ONE founder Jandre Louw on Monday morning received no response from either party. – UnWrap.online
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