WHAT was billed to be Africa’s biggest music festival in 2009, The Namibian International Music Festival (NIMF) slated for December 11 and 12 has been put off until next year April because of “lack of interest from fans”.
The event was being organised by an American company, Coastal Marina Hotels Entertainment with The City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Tourism and the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) as local partners.
NTB has, despite appearing as a partner on the posters and adverts, disassociated itself from the event that would have attracted about 30,000 fans.
The postponement came barely a week after Costal Marina had sent the Dance Crew from the 2006 movie ‘Step Up’ to Namibia for the buildup campaign.
According to adverts, the event was also supposed to feature American artist Common, British singer Alexander Burke, South Africa’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka, HHP, Loyiso Bala, Angolan Anselmo Ralph and Jamaican artists among others.
Tickets had already started selling in Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Oshakati, Otjiwarongo, Oshikango, Gobabis, Tsumeb and Rundu at N$150 while premium tickets were also fetching N$700.
Scheifert Shigwedha, publicist for Coastal Marina confirmed the event that was scheduled to take place at Hage Geingob Stadium had been postponed because of ‘lack of interest’.
“We will have a smaller version of the event on 30 December at the same venue. We will have one international artist,” said Shigwedha.
Shigwedha said they had sold less than 20 tickets in the past month before deciding to postpone and “allow for a smaller version of the event to be held on 30 December 2009.
“We will refund those who had tickets for the December 11 event,” Shigwedha said.
Shigwedha would, however, not be drawn into discussing the financial repercussions of the postponement.
“The international artists were not coming here on commercial bases but on an HIV aspect. Ten percent of the funds generated was going to HIV related projects. We don’t want to quantify the loses of this postponement because the project is still unfolding,” he said.
Although Shigwedha could not confirm or deny, it has surfaced that not all the international artist had received contracts to perform in Namibia, with the exception of Common, hence the organisers won’t incur much loses.
NTB boss Digu //Noabeb said they were not part of the NIMF.
“Whoever says so is lying. We only have someone from NTB sitting in the management committee but they have not met for weeks and we never said we are sponsors. I have no idea what is happening to that event,” he said.
City Spokesperson Liz Sibindi confirmed receiving a memo from the organisers informing her of change of plans.
“They said the event is not entirely off but just broken down into different stages. They want to go through with what they had planned for next year,” said Sibindi.
Last year, plans to bring American rapper Snoop Dogg died a natural death after the event was postponed to this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila was also lured into what turned out to be a farce when the World Peace Tour Concert scheduled for April 2008, featuring Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Peobo Bryson also went down the drain.