Artistes slam Harare gardens ban

HARARE - Music promoters and artistes say the decision by the City of Harare to ban concerts that into the night from being held at Harare Gardens is a big blow to the music industry.

The City of Harare reportedly put in place the ban in response to repeated complaints from residents and companies over excessive noise emanating from the evening concerts.

Award-winning promoter Biggie Chinoperekwei told the Daily News that Harare Gardens, which is centrally located, charges about $1 200 per night which is far less than what is charged by the other venues.

“The Harare Gardens is a very affordable venue unlike the Glamis Arena which charges about $7 000; the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex which demands $5 000 and the City Sports Centre where one has to fork out about $2 500 per night,” he said.

Chinoperekwei added that Zimbabwean music fans and musicians are not very interested in  concerts that end before 6pm.

“It is hard to adhere to 5pm because music fans are usually not punctual though we cannot blame fans alone but also artistes.

“Some artistes are also very unprofessional because they report for concerts hours late but I think that gospel artistes will be affected the most because they are not comfortable with performing in secular venues like night clubs,” he said.

Another award-winning music promoter Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions has urged the City council to avail another central and affordable rendezvous for the benefits of such musicians.

“The City of Harare obviously has valid reasons that made them effect the ban but we hope that they are going to make another central and affordable venue,” said Chimbodza.

“However, I do not agree with their view that night concerts are the only sources of noise.

“We all know that church gatherings also generate a lot of noise.

“Are they going to ban churches held at night as well?” said Chimbodza.

Upcoming gospel musician Agnes ‘Eglada’ Gudza hopes the City of Harare will revisit the decision.

“Gospel music concerts are under serious threat because of the ban. I hope they will reconsider the decision,” she said.

Despite the ban, the City of Harare allowed the just-ended Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) to hold events beyond the stipulated 5pm.

Efforts to obtain a comment from City of Harare spokesperson Lesley Gwindi were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

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