The Fest Gurus, an online video series, helps you combat #festenvy with up-close and personal backstage interviews and live musical magic from some of the world’s best cultural festivals. Starting first in southeastern Africa, the team hopes to reach all edges of the continent soon.
In the first part of this interview with #55FORWARD Zambia Ambassador Mazuba Kapambwe, one-fourth of the Fest Gurus team, she shares what her team does, why they do it and how they are breaking the mode in travel shows.
Where are you and your Fest Gurus partners located?
I’m based in Lusaka, Zambia. The rest of the team, Lorraine Bgoya, Ngonizashe ‘Zash’ Chinara, and Gwinyai ‘Gwi’ Mabika, are all based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
How did you come together?
I ‘met’ Lorraine on Twitter. I followed her and soon after talked with her about doing a show where we attended festivals around Africa. She suggested we shoot a pilot during the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) and contacted Ngonizashe and Gwinyayi of Crafted/Media to shoot the pilot. We all gelled easily. The guys had great spontaneous personalities, so we decided to add them into the show and we become a four-member Fest Guru team.
What challenges have you faced when creating this new cultural series?
Lack of funding has been a huge challenge. We don’t currently have sponsors, so we use our own money for all travel and accommodation. We used crowdfunding to raise money to shoot at the Lake of Stars/City of Stars festival last year.
It is also challenging for us to balance between working full time and finding time to do what is required to run the Fest Gurus like editing footage, community engagement on social media and following up on press releases. However we make it work.
How far have you travelled for a festival and how do you decide which festivals to attend?
We traveled to Zanzibar (Tanzania) for the Sauti Za Busara Festival last February. Gwi flew from Harare to Lusaka, then we flew to Dar es Salaam and took the ferry to Stonetown in Zanzibar.
We decide where to go based on proximity to Zambia and Zimbabwe, where we all live, which makes transportation cheaper. That’s why we started with Harare, then Lusaka, then Malawi. So it’s an economical decision. If we could drive to every festival, we probably would, as inter-Africa flights are very expensive.
What’s your favorite thing about filming the Fest Gurus?
The journeys are always fun and we get into adventures. Then you get to the festival and some of the locations blow you away. Like Sauti Za Busara was held in an Old Fort! Zanzibar is breathtakingly beautiful.
This helps to counter the long hours we often experience when shooting. We typically start early so we get the natural light and go until the early hours. Most times we have to wait around either for artists we’re interviewing or for other press to finish before we have a chance to film. It can be quite tiring.
This is part one of our interview with Mazuba. Next week we will publish part two where we talk with Mazuba about the Fest Gurus plans for the future and how you too can repel #festenvy!
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