Can­celled fes­ti­val: Tsh­wane no closer to get­ting cash back

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KENNEDY MUDZFULI

MONEY from the Tsh­wane purse spent on the can­celled TribeOne Di­no­keng mu­sic fes­ti­val ap­pears to be nowhere near be­ing re­im­bursed.

City of Tsh­wane spokesman Lin­dela Mashigo said the metro was still con­sult­ing with its le­gal team and would pro­nounce on the course of ac­tion “at the ap­pro­pri­ate time”.

Or­gan­is­ers of the mu­sic spec­tac­u­lar – led by Sony Mu­sic En­ter­tain­ment Africa – that was to take place on un­de­vel­oped land out­side Cul­li­nan in Septem­ber pulled the plug, claim­ing the coun­cil had not met the in­fra­struc­ture-de­vel­op­ment dead­lines in time.

This was de­nied by the City of Tsh­wane, which claimed the or­gan­is­ers had run into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and did not sell as many tick­ets as they had hoped.

The fes­ti­val, billed as Africa’s big­gest mu­sic event yet, was to be head­lined by hip-hop star Nicki Mi­naj, with per­for­mances by 150 other mu­si­cians from all over the world, and was to be held over three days in the style of Eng­land’s Glas­ton­bury Fes­ti­val.

Tsh­wane also ar­gued that the or­gan­is­ers had cho­sen an open space that had no in­fra­struc­ture for the venue and asked the city to de­velop roads, in­stall wa­ter sup­ply and elec- tric­ity, and pre­pare the stage area, all of which it had de­liv­ered on time.

Tsh­wane en­tered into a three-year R70 mil­lion con­tract with the or­gan­is­ers. The city had paid R25m for the fes­ti­val. It is the R25m and pos­si­bly other re­lated costs and da­m­ages that the city vowed to re­coup from the or­gan­is­ers.

The money was used to se­cure artists, in­clud­ing a non-re­fund­able R10m to Mi­naj, as well as mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tions. How­ever, it later emerged that just 4 000 of the es­ti­mated 100 000 tick­ets were sold.

The city had bud­geted R40m for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in the area, but last month var­i­ous de­part­ments that were in­volved in the event in­di­cated in their fi­nal re­port that there was a sav­ing of about R22m.

After the event or­gan­is­ers sent a no­ti­fi­ca­tion let­ter to can­cel the event, the city chal­lenged the decision in the high court in Pre­to­ria in an at­tempt to keep the fes­ti­val alive.

The city said it at­tempted to meet with the event or­gan­is­ers in a last­ditch at­tempt to save the fes­ti­val and sug­gested ways to sal­vage the event, in­clud­ing a change of venue to Lof­tus Vers­feld or chang­ing the date to early next year.

After the ef­forts came to nil, the court ac­tion fol­lowed, but the mat­ter did not make it onto the roll.

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