Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
THE Bulawayo City Council says it will not backtrack on it’s decision to ban musical shows at the Amphitheatre as residents who are ratepayers bring in more revenue than shows which happen once in a while.
Due to complaints from residents in nearby areas about the noise levels at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre when music shows, particularly those featuring Winky D, Jah Prayzah and Alick Macheso take place, the local authority decided to ban all shows that go on until the wee hours of the next morning.
During a press briefing in council chambers last week, Mackenzie Moyo, the acting director of housing and community services, said they had prioritised residents and heeded their call as they contribute more than musical shows.
“There’s a need to strike a balance between residents, our ratepayers who pay us on a monthly basis and musicians who use our venues once in a year.
“We couldn’t disadvantage residents who pay monthly and say we’re going to take these (musical shows) because they pay more,” said Moyo.
He said churches were not going to be left unscathed by the ban as they too were equally contributing to the noise pollution.
“The churches also make a lot of noise and council has decided to allow certain activities up to 10PM, be it church or social. Thereafter, no activities will be allowed as residents in nearby areas would want to rest.
“There’s also a suggestion to make the facility user friendly by making it a closed venue, something that we’ll be looking into.”
Moyo said those affected by the Amphitheatre ban still had the Large City Hall at their disposal and could hold their shows there without objections.
“We have places like the Large City Hall which could be very ideal for musicians because they can stage their shows up to 4AM there. For churches and other groups, we’ve put a 10PM ceiling,” he said.
His assistant, Dictor Khumalo, said as a result of the ban, they had cancelled more than 50 musical bookings at the Amphitheatre.
“For the period June to December, we have 65 confirmed bookings until December.
“The musical shows normally occur in the evening and the challenge is they use very large speakers and the activities go past the witching hour.
“We’ve since restricted the use of the facility for musical shows that go up to the early morning of the day,” said Khumalo.
The local authority charges $20 per hour during the week and $25 per hour on weekends for non-professional events at the Amphitheatre. For professional functions, they charge $55 per hour during the week and $60 per hour on weekends.