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Franco lines up own fill up the stadium festival

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Franco said the idea to host an event at the national stadium has always been there PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Kwasa kwasa maestro Frank ‘Franco’ Lesokwane has achieved all sorts of successes. With 17 albums under his belt, Franco’s star continues to shine even brighter. While the popularity of the Kwasa kwasa genre has waned over the years in the country, his popularity keeps rising. Now after seemingly dodging appeals from members of the public in the recent past to take up a bigger contest, Franco has accepted the challenge to fill up the National Stadium. He talks to writer GOITSEMODIMO KAELO about his intentions

Whilst the idea to fill up the National Stadium is not knew as it was first done by local rapper Tshepiso ‘Kast’ Molapisi. But Kast had coined his campaign ‘Tlatsa Lebala’ a Setswana translation of South African rapper Cassper Nyovest’s successful idea of ‘Fill Up the Dome’.

Kast’s first festival at the National Stadium was successful. However, his second attempt was a disaster, with only few people attending the show at Oodi. This made Kast to think twice about hosting another one in 2019.

Now, Franco has come on board to pick up the pieces as he plans to hold his all local artists called ‘Sole Fill Up With Franco’ on April 4, 2020.

The idea could have been pushed by the series of appraisals Franco and his band, Afro Musica, have received after festive for what social commentators termed as saving local music festivals. Franco received many accolades with a number of fans hailing the talented veteran singer for his stellar live performances. His band was just a marvel to watch over the festive period, in some instances without mentioning festivals by names, filling in hours where booked international artists did not show up.

In an interview this week, Franco said he has been toying with the idea to fill up the National Stadium.  He indicated that he has always held one-man shows, at times with lesser-known groups and pulled large crowds. He said what is even more motivating is that they would donate part of the proceeds from the festival to local artists living with disability.

“The idea has always been there, in fact we could have done it last year but things came in thick and fast

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and there was quite a lot to do. We decided to hold on to the idea for while, while pondering on how and when we should do it. We have now said, ‘look we can do this for charity’. We have our fellow artists living with disability and are struggling, so part of the proceeds should go to them,” Franco told Arts & Culture.

Franco said this would be an all-local artists festival. He added the idea is to bring local artists together and give those who have not had the breakthrough, the exposure they need without being in the shadows of their foreign counterparts. He stated that artists of different genres would get slots.

Franco indicated that preparation of logistics for the event is at an advanced stage.

“Talks with artists have started. We are also looking for sponsors from the corporate world, so I can say although we just announced things are looking up,” he added.

Meanwhile, Franco has downplayed thoughts that he could be copying Kast’s idea. “There is nothing like copying someone’s festival. Different promoters can organise similar festivals at different venues or same venues at different times. We are not in any fight with anyone. We have always supported Kast and have performed at his festival and wish he could host it again this year,” he said.

“This is a music festival and no one owns the idea of a music festival. From a long time, there have always been festivals at the National Stadium, so it would be unfortunate if someone says this is his idea.” Franco is expected to release his 18th album prior to his biggest music show ever.



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