ith just a few days to go before the start of this year’s Sand Music Festival, almost all holiday resorts close to the venue in Salima have been fully booked, Chill has established.
Spot-checks Chill conducted on lodging places in Salima such as Blue Waters, Sigelege Beach Resort and Kambiri Beach confirmed they have been fully booked for the three-day event.
Sigelege Beach Resort director Watson Kaunde in an interview said they expect a busy weekend between September 30 and October 2 when the event will take place at Kambiri Beach.
One of the festival’s headliners: Busy Signal
He said: “The effects of the event are unmissable. During the three days, we are fully booked.”
“We have sold 21 rooms to our usual customers and 27 have gone to new ones.”
However, he said there is a need to exercise caution so that they fully leverage on the potential opportunities that the festival promises and avoid any negative outcomes.
“We foresee a spillover since we are closer to the venue. We may need to beef up security and increase the stock in our bar in case some patrons may want to spend time here in between the event,” he said.
Blue Waters and Kambiri Beach Resorts manager Don Sanarasekara said they are happy to play a role in the social event which is a lifeline to other business opportunities.
He also reflected on the work that they have done as hosts to make sure that the place is ready come September 30.
“The first thing is to get the fundamentals correct. We have done the levelling of the beach and the fencing. We need to make sure that we are on top of things security-wise. We also need to have paramedics and on the ground and ensure that the food stalls are set,” said Sanarasekara.
Sand Music Festival director ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda said many of their clients are big corporate guys and partners who come at the eleventh hour and he has admitted it has not been easy finding accommodation for them.
He said: “It has not been easy as all the hotels are booked. Some of our organising team members have had to give up their space and will operate from tents so that our guests and partners can find decent accommodation.”
The director said the event helps other sectors more than the organisers as such, they need to show gratitude. He cited service providers who sell food and beverages, hotels and resorts and gas stations who provide fuel for people to travel to and from the event.
“We have a lot of stakeholders who benefit from the festival. That is why we keep encouraging people to come in and support us with financial donations,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Banda told Chill that they were still thinking of a way of incorporating locals in the festivals.
He said: “We will find a way of making them part of the festival. We want to find a good way that will make the locals benefit from the festival as well as be part of it.
“We may organise a small concert for them for free. I am not sure, but we will come up with something.”
This year’s Sand Music Festival has lined up a number of international and local artists. They include Busy Signal, Lilly Kaduna, Naaq Musiq, Yo Maps and Hamornise on the international front. Locally, the list include, Gwamba, Janta, Nepman, Black Missionaries Band, Lulu, Driemo and many others.
This is the festival’s 13th edition.