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Chaos at city music festival

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The three acts were apparently not paid by organizers, leading to them pulling out of the event

Picture: Supplied

CHAOS broke out at a music festival that was held in Kimberley on the weekend after three of the headline acts pulled out, leaving thousands of ticket holders fuming.

Following a last-minute scramble to find a venue for Saturday’s “Biggest Showdown in Kimberley”, ticket holders descended on the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre expecting to see “some of the biggest names in the South African music scene”, including Kwesta, Shekhinah and Bucie.

However, attendees were left disappointed and angry after not one of the three headline acts performed during the event, apparently due to “non-payment”.

The event, where doors were scheduled to open at 11am, also only started at 9pm.

The music festival was due to take place at the AR Abass Stadium but was moved to the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre “at the last moment” after an application by the event organisers to use the stadium was unsuccessful as the stadium was deemed “unsafe” by the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture

Department spokesperson, Conrad Fortune, said that the department “had not received a structural engineering certificate to confirm that the stands are safe to use after they were damaged by strong winds in September last year”.

Rodrick Rodgers, the spokesperson for the event organisers, Black Salt Creative Company, said last week that 4 000 tickets (at a price of R150 each) had already been sold, with a further 4 000 expected to be sold at the gate (at a price of R200 each).

However, chaos broke out at the event on Saturday after the three headline acts – Kwesta, Shekhinah and Bucie – did not appear on stage, with the crowd trashing the outside area where the event was held and also apparently breaking down fences and damaging the stage and sound equipment.

According to information, the three acts were apparently not paid by organisers, leading to them pulling out of the event.

“We paid good money to see the acts advertised to perform at this event but we were forced to listen to substandard, B-grade acts that were useless. We feel like this was just a scam to get money out of us,” furious attendees said outside the venue.

They further called for the heads of the organisers and demanded to get their money back.

Rodgers was, however, not available yesterday to comment on the situation and give reasons why the main acts did not appear or respond to demands for tickets to be refunded.

Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre (MSCC) spokesperson, Clarissa Carsten, distanced the centre from the music event and stated that the MSCC acted only as venue and had nothing to do with the event itself. She said that “compliance issues” seemed to have been at the root of the problem.

“Organisers of events hosted here are responsible for adherence to event law and public liability requirements, as to comply with disaster management requirement,” said Carsten.

She added that while the centre itself did not incur any damages during the “riotous actions” of attendees, the outside area of the centre was “left completely trashed”.

– Norma Wildenboer