Capacity crowd expected at 60 000 seater Akon zim show venue
Harare – Will the Akon and Sean Paul concert draw a capacity crowd at the 60 000 seater National Sports Staduim in Harare on September 4? Although the staduim has played host to many national events it has only been filled to capacity on limited occasions, like the recent international friendly soccer match which featured the Warriors of Zimbabwe against the Samba Boys of Brazil. Bob Marley’s Independence concert which attracted a capacity crowd at the Rufaro Staduim is widely regarded as the the best-ever musical concert ever to be held in Zimbabwe by an international musician but the crowd did not reach 60 000 as the venue is much smaller than the National Sports Staduim. When the organisers of the concert selected the stadium as the venue for the Akon Sean Paul show, some skeptics questioned whether the giant staduim would be too big a venue for the show. But with just a few days to go before the concert, indications are that a bumper crowd that will include fans from across the region will grace the show. Interest amongst the locals has reached fever pitch whilst organisers have worked hard to make the event a music carnival of distinction. The concert will run for an amazing 18 hours as it will start at 12 noon on Saturday and end at 6 am the next morning. Local urban grooves artists like Stunner, Rocqui and Extra Large will open the curtains in a session that the organisers called the Urban Grooves warm up. Zimbabwe’s red-hot dancehall artiste Winky-D, South Africa based Buffalo Soul Jah and Zambia’s Swagger will then come next during the session, which has been dubbed the The Heat. The main acts, Akon and Sean Paul will perform between 6.30 pm and 11pm. After this, top local sungura musicians like Alick Macheso, Tongai Moyo, Sulumani Chimbetu and man of the moment Kapfupi will then battle it out in the Sungura Revenge segment to close the gig in style. With this sumptous musical menu, organisers believe history can be made and a capacity crowd can attend the show. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) Public Relations and Corporate Communications Manager Sugar Chigonda said the show has the potentail to draw a capacity crowd because it will attract fans from across the region. “We have received enquiries from scores of people in many countries and we are expecting a bumper crowd.This show is not for Zimbabwe alone. We are expecting fans from all our neighbouring counrties and from across the region,” he said. Chagonda said the show will attract a cross-section of fans from all walks of life including school children, young adults as well as elders. ZTA and Zimswag, who are the main promoters of the show, entered into an agreement with Zambia’s Zambezi Airline, which will see the Airliner ferrying people from Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Tanzania for the show. Zambezi Airline Sales Manager Stella Milner said the hosting of Akon and Sean Paul is a good follow up to the World Cup hosted by South Africa. “Zimbabwe has once again made us proud as they are hosting a big event that will make Africa proud., following in the footsteps of the World Cup,” she said. Organisers said fans should brace for a memorable show as both Akon and Sean Paul are bringing their full bands. They are set to arrive on 2 September with a combined entourage of 43 people. During their stay in Zimbabwe, the two musicians are expected to tour the majestic Victoria Falls, interact with fans and visit a number of areas that include Mbare suburb in Harare.