Scattered bonfires lit the fringes of a football pitch at Mount Darwin High School, bracketing thousands of merrymakers that thronged the Mashonaland Central town for Heroesplush Gala over the weekend.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, a cold breeze from an adjacent dam swept through the simmering crowd, plummeting temperatures and forcing some to form small groups around the fires while the majority braved the chilly weather to follow every minute of the proceedings on stage.
More than 30 artists took turns to entertain the crowd in a show that lasted more than 18 hours.
The merrymakers came from surrounding places such as Mukumbura, Dotito, Shamva, Bindura and Centenary. Some professed that they had walked from as far as 20 kilometres to witness the event.
As the gig progressed many found “beds” in the dust due to fatigue and drunkenness while others scrambled for Shake-Shake opaque beer that was supplied from a single lorry.
Around the venue, many stalls selling food and clear beer made brisk business as the better part of the crowd ate and drank in celebration of this rare event in the small town.
Some politicians used the event for political mileage, but the majority of the audience showed that they had come for merrymaking and nothing else.
The venue was packed from the beginning to the end of the gala as musicians like Jah Prayzah, Iyasa, Progress Chipfumo and Sebastian Magacha entertained them.
The best act of the day came from forgotten musician Hosiah Chipanga who managed to put the crowd into a frenzy through his unique dances and deep lyrics.
Then there was Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima who performed well after sunset and gave revellers a comic and exciting act. He introduced a very short guy who is known as Machisa Wamoto (real name Justice Mushoran’anga). He did spectacular dances and left the crowd in stitches through comic statements when he mimicked a young child.
But the most interesting juncture of the gala was when Alick Macheso and Tongai Moyo joined Sulumani Chimbetu on stage. Chimbetu was outstanding with his immaculate suit.
They did one song together with Macheso playing the bass guitar while Moyo did backing vocals. The trio also put up good performances in their individual capacities but Moyo did not arouse the crowd as expected.
In the early hours of the night, the event had been blessed by Pastor Charles Charamba and his wife Olivia who put up a polished act.
Mahendere Brothers and Agatha Murudzwa brought more gospel acts in the early hours of Saturday.
Another good performance came from sungura musician Gift Amuli whose dancers mesmerised the audience while his guitar-playing skills were fantastic.
BV Labien Musica gave an exciting rhumba act while urban groovers were represented by Sniper, Leonard Mapfumo and Trevor Dongo. Sandra Ndebele did her trademark dances and Nicholas Zakaria showed that he is getting better with age like wine.