Following the cancellation of its much anticipated music festival slated for this December, the entertainment company Lake Productions has given government a one-week ultimatum to reverse the decision. The ultimatum was issued by the company’s Operations Manager, Sulaiman Storm Koroma, during a press conference on Monday.
Lake Productions had been scheduled to stage the program on December 24 at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown. According to officials of the company, the management of the stadium told them that they were
Alhaji K. Tarawalie, alias Laj K, the CEO of Lake Entertainment Productions, told journalists at the press conference that no tangible reason was given for the cancellation of the program that was supposed to be held alongside the National Tangains Music Festival. Sources told Salonejamboree that the festival hasn’t been cancelled.
Laj K, presenter of the Gateway Show on the AYV Television, in a solemn mood lamented the effect of the development on his company. He said they had already spent over Le 150m in preparation ahead
of the program. “Lake Productions is a reputable company, we have been in entertainment for more than seven years promoting local talents,” he said.”…we have been robbed our constitutional rights. This is not just an attack on me, but on the whole entertainment industry. And I believe it is politically motivated,” Mr Tarawalley added on a sideline interview with Salonejamoboree after the press conference held at Noreska Restaurant in Saint John.
The program was supposed to feature three of the country’s top artists- Emerson, Arkman and Morris. According the organizers, the three artists had already been paid Le30m each. The Lake Production CEO believes the decision to cancel his show may be connected to the involvement of Emerson.
Asked why he felt the decision was politically motivated, he said:”It’s because of Emerson. Some government authorities asked me to remove him from the event because they said he is an anti-government musician.”
Emerson Bockarie, one of the best known musicians in Sierra Leone, is best known for his protest songs directed at official corruption and mismanagement in government. His recent albums have been viewed as
attacking the governing All Peoples Congress that has been in office since 2007.
But Laj K himself has also lately declared his support for Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella’s newly formed political party, the National Grand Coalition (NGC). Yumkella is one of the leading presidential contenders in next year’s elections. Some critics say this decision by the Siaka Steven Stadium management might have been influenced by fears within the APC that the event could be used to market Yumkella.
The guest artists, especially Emerson and Morris, were reportedly not happy about this development, which they consider as a deprivation of their rights to exhibit their talents. Lake Productions says it’s awaiting the reaction of the government to make the decision on its next move. But they ruled out any suggestion of taking legal action.
Officials at the Stadium though have been reported saying that they would soon commence maintenance and therefore couldn’t afford to let out the facility.