With its growing popularity and an ever increasing line-up of some of the best local and international artists across a spectrum of performing arts, Gaborone International Music and Culture week (GIMC) has positioned itself as one of the biggest performing arts festivals in Africa.
Now on its fourth consecutive year since 2014, the organisers, Leapfrog, are bent on outdoing themselves this year.
“GIMC is now an internationally recognised festival with interest coming from the Caribbean, America, Canada, Australia, the UK, and West Africa,” says Leapfrog managing director Thapelo Pabalinga.
“On a daily basis we receive calls from artists from across the world expressing their interest in taking part in the GIMC.”
Pabalinga says this is testimony that they (GIMC) can also host world class events for the whole world to attend. He says being rated among the best 10 festivals in Africa is a “huge” endorsement that they intend to live up to.
“Our dream is to have the rest of the world come to Botswana during GIMC week.”
While the week-long festival has all the hallmarks of a well-financed event, Pabalinga shares the same frustration about lack of corporate sponsorship as most of the local promoters.
“It has been tough because corporates in Botswana still don’t consider music and arts as a platform they can use to advance their brands,” he says, adding, “access to sponsorship is a challenge and to run an event like GIMC that costs a minimum of P3 million is no walk in the park.” He hails the support the festival has so far received from the public.
“In the absence of adequate corporate sponsorship, our most important sponsors have been the public who have continued to support and be part of the GIMC since day one. Their support is to us, the organisers, a nod to say we are doing something right,” Pabalinga says.
He says this is why they go out of their way to keep the fans’ experience better than in the previous event.
This year, he says, will be no different. “We know what is expected of us with every event and we will continue to do our best to deliver. When you step foot into one of our events we want you to come out feeling like you owe us money, feeling like we didn’t charge you enough.” He says this is because they place their fans’ satisfaction at the top of their priorities. “If our clients aren’t happy we can never be happy.”
Pabalinga says the 2017 show will be the biggest and most diverse they have staged yet. “We are enlisting artists from as far as Canada, the UK, Reunion, Kenya, you name it we will have it all during Botswana’s biggest music and arts week.”
The GIMC marathon of events will commence on Saturday, August 26 and wrap up the next Saturday, September 2, with the final event at the National Stadium featuring scores of local and international artists and DJs.
“We have also added a new event this year called champagne picnic that we will be unveiled during the next coming weeks,” Pabalinga tells Lifestyle. He says the 2017 show will feature 50 artists in total.
“GIMC is there for the taking but we want to work with local artists who are serious about their craft; who want to grow internationally and make good of their careers.”