KNYSNA NEWS - Some two weeks after the iKasi Colour Fun Run Spring Edition concert planned for Loerie Park was moved to a another venue at the last minute without any explanation, many locals are still asking what exactly happened.
Not only were they disappointed that the event was moved to a much smaller venue unsuitable for younger fans, but most of the expected acts never performed.
Many vendors that bought stock to sell at Loerie Park lost custom with the venue shift.
The concert, which formed part of the official Oyster Festival programme in June but was postponed due to bad weather, promised fans to feature some of their favourite celebrities from television soapies and national and local music acts ahead of the event set to take place on 28 September.
'R70 000 for nothing'
On Friday 4 October, event organiser Oliver Mabukane said he paid R70 000 to artists who ended up not performing and that he would like to give "every single detail, but due to legal matters at this stage I can't".
In a statement he said they had to change the venue because of the weather. "It was very risky to host at the venue and the damage left by the rain and strong wind can be seen from Caste Light infrastructure," he said, and referred to a picture in Knysna-Plett Herald last week which was taken after storm winds around midday on Sunday 29 September had all but destroyed the Castle Light tents erected for the Saturday's concert. "Should we have continued with the event while there were people underneath that infrastructure, we would have encountered more serious cases," he said.
'Poorly organised event'
KPH spoke to John Helder, the manager of Afro house vocalist Mpumi who was one of the expected acts that did not happen. Helder said the event was poorly organised and that after months of communicating with the organiser they only received their flight tickets the day before the event. On arrival in Knysna, he continued, accommodation for the artist and team had still not been booked. "We were here for Mpumi to perform for free – which was a favour to begin with. It wasn't our fault the first concert was cancelled but we chose to come in good faith," Helder said, adding that Mpumi was only paid for the postponed July event. "The organiser booked us single flights and before Mpumi could perform I needed to see that return flights were booked and they were not."
But according to him, when he enquired about the return flight tickets, Mabukane was allegedly rude, reeked of alcohol, told them they needed to get to the club and said he would organise the flight tickets.
'No return flights for artist'
"After a lot of back and forth and the club owner and his son trying to intervene … I told the organiser Mpumi is not getting on that stage without the return tickets." The artist and her team ended up having to pay their own tickets back home, Helder said.
Mabukane is on a three-year contract as part of the municipality's local economic development (LED) incubator programme, and this was the second year.
The organiser said the event application was delayed by the municipality, and that as a result it was not approved. "After so many years of hard work in this municipality, I have turned out to be the enemy … instead of being supported as one of the visionaries of this town."
'Delays created by himself'
But municipal spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhoudt rubbished Mabukane's allegations, saying the venue had been booked and prepared for the event and that the events committee had dealt with the organiser's application as swiftly as they could.
"These delays were created by himself as he could not provide the committee with public liability assurance…"
Bezuidenhout said. "We were subsequently informed he will partner with a third party to resolve this issue.
Again he failed to provide a service level agreement between his company and the company who's public liability cover he wanted to submit. We required consent from the insurance company of his new partner since they legally could not cede their liability without the consent of the insurer.
It is disingenuous of Mr Mabukane to place blame on the municipality for his challenges."
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