Chaos, poor sound mar Castle Lager Braai Fest

Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent

There was chaos at the annual Castle Lager Braai Festival, which resulted in revellers throwing missiles at the sound engineer, forcing dancehall star Winky D to abandon his performance.

The bumper crowd had been patient for the better part of the day, but reached breaking point when Winky D went on stage with no improvement in sound.

Congested entry points, bars and butcheries could have added to growing impatience among merrymakers as they struggled to get service on time.

One had to wait for over 30 minutes to gain entry due to the organisers’ authentication system which was later abandoned as traffic increased, leading to many people gaining entry for way lesser than the cover charge after reportedly bribing gate security.

Those who paid their entrance fees were given tokens to redeem braai packs and a litre of draft beer, but had to wait up to over an hour to access their freebies while some were turned away because their tokens were not stamped.

When it came to performances, the sound was so poor that Freeman had to request the engineer to work on the system on his second song.

This resulted in missiles being thrown at the sound booth, but Freeman continued with his performance and averted early disaster.

After Freeman, revellers also had to wait for over an hour for Winky D, who had previously been announced to be at the venue for his slot.

According to his camp, the musician was stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the venue.

His handlers refused to have him to walk into the venue, fearing for his security.

When he finally turned up, the sound was so poor that fans thought the musician was being sabotaged and ended up venting their frustrations on the sound engineer.

This forced the artiste to abandon his act halfway through.

While musicians were on stage, security was constantly tested by revellers who wanted to gain entry backstage to interact with their stars.

There was a violent confrontation with rogue bouncers who wanted to takeover security at backstage entry points, resulting in many injuries and harassment of both the staff and media personnel who were trying to gain entry into the area.

The event seemed to have been ill-fated, having been abandoned last year due to a cholera outbreak, then postponed last week to pave way for the SADC anti-sanctions demonstrations.

Organisers also had to forgo the first day of the two-day event on Friday due to heavy rains.

Sound has been a big challenge in local music, with many artistes having to endure some of their worst performances on stage.

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