Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
SCORES of music lovers were allegedly injured in Gweru in the early hours of Saturday after some disgruntled show attendees threw beer bottles and stones at the VG Complex Warehouse stage where Jah Prayzah was supposed to perform.
The incident happened in the heavy industrial area in Gweru after it emerged that Jah Prayzah, the main act, was longer going to perform. This left fans disgruntled and they did not waste time expressing it violently.
Fans had waited for hours on Friday to see the star in action and he pulled a shocker at the last minute after refusing to perform, citing a poor sound system. This was said by the superstar’s team who at around midnight, arrived at the venue to inspect the stage and PA system. Moments later, they allegedly said the superstar was not going to perform as the PA system did not meet their standard.
Dubbed the “Summer Big Show”, the event saw other supporting artistes including Poptain and Dadza D performing without any challenges using the same PA system. Dhadza D performed with a live band.
The show was organised by Mbazo Entertainment, an events promotion company that stands accused of failing to meet the required standards for a top performer like Jah Prayzah.
What followed were ugly scenes characterised by the flying of beer bottles and stones toward the stage. The complex itself is a dangerous place to be when the crowd gets rowdy as the floor is made of loose stones.
Several people who were seated in the VIP area who had paid between US$20 and US$50 were struck with stones and beer bottles resulting in them getting injured.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, Jah Prayzah outlined the reasons why he refused to perform.
“Unfortunately, to begin with, the PA system was way out of the spec range we agreed to and the music lovers had a difficult time with the audibility of the artistes who were performing on stage,” he said.
The set that was available, he said, was suited for DJ slots and artistes who use backtracks for their performances.
He said the performance of a band as large as his, with such equipment, was not possible.
“The performance would have been a terrible experience for our fans and would definitely affect the brand they have grown to love over the years. Any efforts to fix the PA system before we performed (due to changing times) would have exposed the band members to missiles, therefore, risking their safety.
“Despite management’s efforts well ahead of time, the organisers failed to rectify the issue,” read part of the statement.
Jah Prayzah said: “The promoter kept pushing our performance time into the early hours of Saturday and this agitated the crowd,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Midlands Provincial police spokesperson and event organisers were fruitless as they were not answering their phones.
Article Source: The Chronicle