About 10 000 people including some from as far as Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, are expected to attend this month's Stanbic Music Festival at Lusaka Polo Horse to be headlined by iconic R'n'B music group Boyz II Men.
Local musicians who include traditional folk singer Mumba Yachi, hip-hop sensation Chef 187, gospel singer Abel Chungu, Afro soul singer Wezi, singer and guitarist James Sakala, R'n'B singer K'Millian and Cape Town-based violinist Caitlin will join Boyz II Men at the September 22-23 festival.
The local artistes, although already known, were officially introduced last month during a media briefing held at Horse Shoe Restaurant in Lusaka where Stanbic head of marketing Perry Siame said they are expecting a huge crowd to be in attendance.
"We expect a huge turnout at this event, so we encourage fans who are yet to buy tickets to do so as soon as possible because we are unlikely to increase the tickets beyond 10,000," Siame said.
The local artistes are looking forward to the festival, which is now in its fourth year having started from the Misty Jazz Restaurant and Café at Levy Shopping Mall where it was themed around jazz.
"It's exciting to be part of this line up for the event. It's a bit more challenging and nerve wracking because you know what's demanded of you on this kind of stage," Abel Chungu said.
"As local artistes, we are thinking of perfection and doing better because we make this festival what it is. People travel and attend these festivals because of the standards that were left behind by earlier performers. So, we have to put in a lot of work."
Stanbic public relations and communications manager Chanda Chime-Katongo says the music festival is a good platform for local musicians to take to the stage and learn the tricks of the trade from Boyz II Men.
"The Stanbic Music Festival is a unique platform to ensure that our local music talents perform side by side with renowned international artistes and learn a lot from each other -- from arranging a concert to executing it on stage. It is one way local musicians can grow their influence beyond our borders," she said at the same briefing.
"This festival showcases local talent. If you don't give them a platform to play on, few people will know who they are and what they are capable of. You can rest assured this line-up will make it a festival to remember."
And National Arts Council of Zambia (NAC) assistant director for performing and literary arts Mwiche Chikungu commended Stanbic Bank for the consistency in holding the festival for the last four years.
"As National Arts Council, we'd like to thank Stanbic Bank for elevating the music industry in Zambia because every year they improve the quality of the actual event and we are having high quality events, giving our local artistes a chance to network with foreign artistes who have a lot of experience," she said.
"When others who are aspiring artistes see the local artistes who are participating, it inspires them to also take up this career. As you probably know, we are now an economic ministry; we used to be a social ministry and arts are part of the creative and cultural industry. People are actually employed in the arts. We also have companies that benefit when the Stanbic Bank event happens."