MASERU — Police had to stop yesterday’s Vodacom Summa Feva bash at the Maseru Club almost two hours before time fearing a repeat of the violence that rocked the festival last year.
Scores of revellers had descended on the club for the third edition of the annual festival but had to leave early, as the police forced the organisers to prematurely end the jamboree.
Refiloe Mohlotsane, Vodacom Lesotho’s senior brand specialist, told the Sunday Express the instruction to close early had come through an SMS from one senior police officer.
“We got an SMS from the police saying we should end the bash because they feared people would be on the streets late,” Mohlotsane said.
“The police said they were starting to see a build-up (of people) in town, and they wanted people to disperse them before it got too late.”
Police at the bash were non-committal, only saying there were some people out to cause problems at the festival.
The early cancellation spoiled what had — until then — been a rip-roaring party, with the club already a hive of activity by the time the gala kicked off at 10am.
An exciting line-up of artists thrilled the swelling and exhilarated audience, with the crowd going crazy when Spikiri — the first on stage of the South African contingent — setting the tone for a fun-filled summer day.
The locals were not to be outdone with Fatere, MRC, Mantša, Bootz, MZI, Tumi, Alex and Allstar flying the country’s flag high — and the crowd loved every minute of it.
The atmosphere was simply electric, even taking the inimitable Sechaba “Fatere” Litabe by surprise.
“I never thought there would be such an audience by 11:30am when I got on stage. It’s simply incredible. The response by the fans was humbling ,” Fatere said.
Maybe the decision to hold the bash during the day was not such a bad idea after all, judging by the “family” atmosphere and youngsters in attendance — which would not have been possible had the bash been held at its “normal” late hours.
Those interviewed by the Sunday Express before the sudden call-off said the event should “always” be held during day, insisting it afforded everyone the chance to attend when it is “safe”.
Lereko Maoba — one of the people who attended the show — said holding it during day would attract more people.
“It’s cool, enjoyable and safe. I can see each person approaching me, because it’s broad daylight,” Maoba said.
“I prefer it this way, because it makes it a family gathering. Holding the bash during the day allows parents a chance to bring their children and enjoy when it is relatively safe.
“It’s like a Christmas party because people are relaxed on camp chairs and enjoying themselves, which could not have been the case at night.” Maoba said.
Vodacom Lesotho’s public relations officer, Thabiso Molongoane, said this year’s bash was held during the day for security reasons.
“We reached an agreement with the police that the bash takes place during the day,” he said, adding they had also decided to have more local artists this year.
Despite the disappointment of going home at 5:30pm, not the scheduled 7pm, fans could be seen dancing, singing and having a real good time.