By Gary Mthombeni
Organisers of the Bulawayo Arts Festival are under fire from artistes who haven’t been paid for the work rendered in June last year.
The fiesta organised by Nhimbe Trust in collaboration with Bulawayo City Council was held from June 2 to 5 under the theme, We Own Winter and had an array of performers gracing the hybrid event.
The event hogged the limelight as it was officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also opened the cultural corridor during the festival.
Most of the artists reportedly signed contracts that stated they would be paid between US$$100 and US$150 in 14 days after their performances.
However, Standard Style established that the artists were yet to receive their money.
“We were promised that our performance fees would be paid on or before the 14th day after the performances, but it has been eight months after we delivered and we have not received anything, not even formal communication from the organisers,” said an artist who preferred anonymity.
“Instead, we were told that the Bulawayo Arts Festival doesn’t owe us anything now and we should demand our money from the City Council.
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“We are now stranded and confused. We don’t know who to approach.”
Another artist, who hasn’t been paid, said he was not going to take part in the festival this year if invited to do so.
“This is the highest level of unprofessionalism,” she said.
“I haven’t received my money and we are approaching the next edition yet they haven’t paid for services rendered last year.
“If they call me to perform this year I won’t accept the deal. As artists we should not let promoters take us for a ride, and we should learn to speak with a unified voice and not let these promoters divide us by paying some.”
Spencer Biningu, the festival’s head of finance and administration said they were in the process of paying the artists, but he did not disclose when the payments would be made.
“There are artists who were paid and others not, because there was a first and second batch,” Biningu said.
“We are still in the process of paying the remaining ones.
“We are still making some other payments, artists should receive their money soon.”
Artistes who performed at the festival include Holy Ten, Mzoe7, Qeqeshiwe, Asaph, MJ Sings, Seagirl, Skaiva, KhoiKhoi, Fab G, Simunye Simunye, Ngoma iNgoma, Poptain, Pro Beatz and Msizkay, among others.