Of economics, politics in arts

THE Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo kicked off its 10th anniversary celebrations on Tuesday to bumper crowds. On Friday, 26 September the festival holds what could be the biggest show yet in Bayethe Bulawayo Concert.A�The concert features Iyasa, Martin and Ndolwane Super Sounds, Albert Nyathi, Amawala, Sandra Ndebele and Sulumani Chimbetu. The line-up is obviously attractive in many ways, so I ask you dear reader who is your headliner for this event?

I mean the group or individual that has the pull factor . . . but dona��t answer that yet. This article is inspired by events in the past few days and something that happened years back during my stage days.

If you follow the arts you will agree with me that Intwasa has grown as a festival and in growing it should also show in the kind of programming and numbers in audiences. Now back to the headliner story, from the list of names my headliner for the show is Sulumani Chimbetu, why?

Because he pulls crowds, he has won multiple awards, he is not the most talented of people but he has national appeal and he has his fathera��s foundation (Chopper was a national darling). By the way did I mention the Bayethe Concert is a paying show? Yes ita��s about time Intwasa realises some income from the arts (no one has a problem with that), so naturally this being any economic driven show I would have the crowd puller in bold in all publicity material, the idea is to have as much people as possible. Bayethe Bulawayo poster has a picture of Sulu and Sandra Ndebele. The other players have their names written in bold.

Since the poster hit the streets the festival team has received many comments and complaints as to why the poster has Sulumani instead of Martin of Ndolwane (no mention of Sandra though she is on the poster) obviously as a design the poster should not just be over-crowded. My biggest worry though is that we as a people are quick to complain about having locals on posters yet evidently for now, if one is looking to make money artistes from other parts of the country are the ones making the money save for a few that have crossed other city boundaries like Sandra Ndebele and Jeys Marabini.

Maybe the biggest curse to regional brands is that with people like them, fans personalise them, relate to them and never want to let them go and the emergence or introduction of another is a threat to their being (Highlanders FC for example).

I may step on a few toes at Intwasa for doing this but did you know Intwasa happens in Bulawayo but it is now an event of national value attracting whites, greens and blues (leta��s not politicise it). Just the other day at the Bulawayo theatre after getting a shouting from a fan for the Sulu poster I asked him which event he has ever paid for which featured a local artiste and there was none, yes thata��s our biggest problem we are all talk and none of the actual support is given.

A few months back one Onias turned villain for organising a show featuring our local greats. Having toured the world and attended top international festivals like Womad and Glastonbury who are more commercial than politically correct, I realised most of the successful events feature international artistes.

For example the first time Glastonbury had a hip- hop artiste for headliner was when they invited Jay-z (not Jeys), he faced a lot of resistance with some even threatening to boycott of the festival, but that was one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen and for the first time I saw 200 000 people sing along in unison, bringing Glasto to a standstill. The next year the same festival had Snoop Dogg for headliner and as with the previous one sold quite well. The moral of the story is sometimes do not be afraid to try new things and sometimes being correct is not always correct. Until next week be safe.