Just recently, Jamaican artist Elephant Man came to Zimbabwe for a one-off show at Glamis Arena and the conditions surrounding this show were simply unbearable. It was a clear reflection of the promoter’s lack of organisation and ignorance to cater for fans.
Having successfully braved the June night chill to attend the show, little did the fans know that they were actually going to fall victim of the embarrassing and violent chaos that occurred at the show.
You can picture this; police dogs looking hungry and viciously barking now and again, sending shockwaves among the fans who continuously shoved and pushed each other because the entry points into the show were too few.
In fact, only two gates were open and why the show promoter did not have more gates opened remains a mystery.
The last thing that someone who goes to a music show expects is turmoil with police dogs growling as if they were last fed a year ago and policemen acting like some die-hard tyrants.
It was unfortunate scenes, especially with the police exploiting the situation and finding it an opportunity to button-stick fans.
For fans that managed to get into the show, the situation at the stage was unbearable, to say the least.
Granted, local performers such as MicInity, Gusspy Warrior and Winky D put up some sterling performances but the stage was so crowded that Elephant Man, the main act, could barely move and this took a huge spark out of his act, which depends on energetic stage movement.
How often have we heard of situations where the main artist walks off the stage or dumps the show simply because of security disturbances?
Had it not been for Elephant Man who kept his composure after being pelted on the forehead with a beer can and braved it up until the last minute, the show could have turned out a total mess. To make matters worse, the promoter literally dragged Elephant Man off the stage at the point when he was settling into his groove.
However, some of these security glitches and lack of organisation are matters that the promoter could have learnt from what transpired at the Akon, Sean Paul, Sean Kingston and Zarfest concerts.
For instance, the biggest disappointment for those who had paid US$100 to get into the golden circle at the Akon and Sean Paul concert was that it turned out to be not so exclusive after some overexcited fans forcibly surged forward and breached the security, unlawfully gaining entry into the VIP section.
Chaos ended up being the order of the day hence the show was marred by thieves who took advantage and utilised it as an opportunity to do business.
The National Arts Council should also take up their role, jump into the mess that local music promotion is today and put in place measures to protect consumers.
Fans should have a clearly stated legal course of action to follow when they are taken for a ride by unscrupulous music promoters.
All we can say is that, outside Bob Marley’s historic 1980 Independence show, Zimbabwe is yet to host a show that is problem-free and gives fans value for their money.