The opulence and glamour that surrounded the reception of the much-hyped international acts, Akon and Sean Paul, was a sharp contrast to the treatment local urban groovers received.
There was no majestic Phantom Rolls Royce or Bentley to move around in. In fact, none of them ever managed to talk to the stars or, better still, shake their hands.
A source within the urban grooves movement revealed that most even made their way to the National Sports Stadium, the venue of the show, using their own cars.
Their cars were by no means the flashy machines their international counterparts flaunted, with the help of attention-seeking businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.
NewsDay can let slip that backstage the artistes, both female and male, were crammed in one room and had to take turns to dress.
“I’m not sure why we belittle local artistes like that. We had to do without refreshments, we had no food and we were crammed into a single room with no chair to sit on or shelves to hang clothes on,” said the source.
Local artistes, besides Alick Macheso, always had to contend with pushy, muscled bouncers who are also notorious for assaulting fans at football matches.
“We got accreditation at 2pm on the day of the show. At the hotel we were told to move out when Sean Paul was entering the building. Onlookers were surprised when they saw us jostling with them to catch a glimpse of the man we felt could help us one day to reach a better and lucrative level in the business of music,” noted another local artiste.
As if their problems were not enough, local acts did not get ample time to rehearse or do the required sound check.
Tellingly, when they performed there were echoes and feedback, which almost magically disappeared when Sean Paul and Akon hit the stage.
The source said: “We had to be content with just performing. I’m not sure if it is out of fear or sheer respect for international artistes, I can tell you that these guys (Akon and Sean Paul) could not be bothered even when they did two hours of sound check. That is something you cannot do here. They will tell you five minutes is good enough.”
NewsDay can also reveal that US$2 million was used to bring in the stars, but urban groovers who performed brilliantly had to accept being paid US$500.
“We are obviously not at the level of the two but just look at the discrepancies in terms of money.
Sometimes it makes no sense hoping you will make it in Zimbabwe as an artiste with such an attitude from our own promoters,” said the source.
Meanwhile, gatekeepers made more than what the urban groovers were paid, with organised corruption that involved some police officers.
NewsDay witnessed several people who paid money which went straight into the pockets of these officials.