Pretoria - There was confusion on Tuesday on why the Dinokeng Tribe-One Festival supposed to have been held in Cullinan, 30km east of Pretoria, was cancelled.
“The city was surprised when we received a letter of cancellation from the organisers,” Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said after a site visit.
Pointing to the open field, he said: “Everything is ready, the infrastructure is ready. The stage is not up because the festival was cancelled but we would have been ready.”
Ramokgopa and officials in his office took the media on a site tour on Tuesday to display the infrastructure.
It was supposed to be a “virgin venue” with no surfaced roads, but with lighting and chemical toilets, Ramokgopa explained.
He said R65 million was spent on the event Ä R40m for infrastructure and R25m for marketing, promotions, and securing artists. The city wanted to recoup the R25m if the concert did not go ahead.
However, TribeOne Festivals said in a statement on September 17, that the host City of Tshwane had not met the infrastructure deadlines for the concert.
The concert would have been held from September 26 to 28, with events company Rockstar4000 and Sony Music Entertainment.
“Site preparation and related infrastructure development required to host the festival... fell behind schedule to a material extent, such that it was no longer realistically possible to stage and deliver the Festival to the scale and quality that the organisers had always planned,” it said.
“Under the circumstances, and despite efforts to seek alternative arrangements, the organisers have had no option but to cancel the event.”
Ramokgopa said the city and organisers went on a site tour on September 3, where it was indicated that everything was ready for the festival.
He said of the 100,000 people that were expected to attend the three-day festival, only 4000 tickets were sold at the beginning of September.
City manager Jason Ngobeni said he could not go into more details of the reasons why it was cancelled because the dispute over the cancellation was expected to go to arbitration in court on Thursday.
“We were thinking the 100,000 people would be exceeded, especially if you bring the kind of players that were expected to perform,” he said.
“The city had the type of infrastructure needed and we were definitely ready. We even created local jobs while getting ready.”
He said the 440 hectares of land could easily host about 150,000 people.
The City installed street lights, so people could feel safe and there would be free wi-fi, said Ngobeni.
International artists like Nicki Minaj, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and J Cole were set to perform.
South African artists including MiCasa, Kuli Chana, Mafikizolo, Karen Zoid and HouseHold Funk were on the bill, along with artists from the rest of Africa.
Ramokgopa said the concert must go on.
“This is the home of the Tribe-One. It could be happening later this year,” he said.
“It is going to happen. From there it is going to be annually.”
TribeOne Festivals apologised and said all ticket holders would be reimbursed.