Sunday, 11 June 2017

BCC Bans Jah Prayzah, Macheso and Winky D With Immediate Effect

The Bulawayo City Council has set itself on collision course with music promoters after it banned three of the country's chart toppers and all-time big stage performers Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Alick Macheso from holding shows at Amphitheatre, which is situated a stone's throw from the city centre (Centenary Park).

The ban, according to a council official is with immediate effect for those musicians that have not made prior bookings for the venue and comes amid complaints of noise from residents close to Amphitheatre whenever the three musicians will be performing.

The move by the city council however, drew the ire of promoters who argued that the city council was just being elitist and was not considering the revenues that the artistes were bringing each time they booked the venue for their shows.

A city council source told Sunday Life that they had to consider the residents' pleas and ban the three artistes believed to be the noisiest.
BCC Bans Jah Prayzah, Macheso and Winky D With Immediate Effect
"We have banned all-night musical shows from the venue. Artistes can book the venue for afternoon performances up to 10pm. But Jah Prayzah, Alick Macheso and Winky D have been completely banned from holding shows at the venue. They can come and look for other places to perform in the city but not at the Amphitheatre.

"Residents who live close to the venue have raised concerns on the amount of noise when the three artistes perform and we just have to give them an ear too. We want the money but at times it's not all about money but also considering the concerns of the neighbourhood," said the source.

The ban, he added, was with immediate effect. He stressed that the venue will be used for other events like weddings, church services while other artistes who are not into music could hire the venue.

"Those that have made bookings earlier could perform but we are not going to allow new bookings for musicians to perform all-night gigs," he added.

Promoters however, went ballistic about the issue expressing disappointment in how the city council handled the matter. They said the venue was among the best in terms of convenience, adding that it has been around and other equally good musicians and crowd favourites were allowed to perform there.

"What has changed about Amphitheatre and why now? We grew up when the venue was there and when such equally good artistes as Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Simon Chimbetu, Lovemore Majaivana and others were performing there, we never heard about any ban, why now and why the particular three. Where were these complaining residents all along?" queried Terminator Makoni of 2 Kings Entertainment.

He said city council workers were not being paid in time — a clear indication that the city council was in the red as far as its finances were concerned but it was the same city council that was stifling revenue flow by banning artistes who always pay cash.

He said although there were other venues in the city where musicians could perform, Amphitheatre was the most convenient and had become a traditional home to most big artistes as it was more convenient than any other venues.
He said the City Hall was too expensive and the City Hall car park need more security details. He said the artistes would also be required to hire toilets.

Chipaz of Chipaz Promotions also weighed in saying the development was a way of killing the entertainment industry in the city and the country at large. He questioned the rationale of targeting the three crowd favourites for a complete ban on their performance at the venue.

"We believe the venue was constructed for that purpose. Is the city council admitting a town planning blunder because we thought the venue's location was convenient for that? "Besides I am told there is only one white resident who has been complaining and so the city council decides to sacrifice revenue on the altar of serving one person — that is totally unacceptable and we think they will relook into the issue and reverse their decision," said Chipaz who usually brings Macheso in town.

Another promoter Esau Hondora also expressed concern on the development saying the city council was just trying to be "funny". He said the city council was supposed to look at the interval the three artistes have shows in town.

"These shows are not held daily or weekly but at intervals of three to six months. Therefore for one to start complaining of noise and health over these shows is just out of malice. Byo artistes have been affected too. They should lobby the council to reverse the decision. "We believed the venue is a community one and should be used for such activities as musical shows and generate revenue for the city," he said.

The city council source was however, adamant saying the issue was already a closed chapter. An official comment could not be obtained from the council.

Source: Sunday Mail
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