Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) says it is concerned with the lack of vibrancy from local artists in sub-mitting applications to participate in this year's festival.
BAF announced late this year that all artists who would want to participate in this year's festival scheduled for Octo¬ber should submit applications through their website.
However Executive Director Thom Chibambo said last weekend that so far a few local artists have applied for participation with a great number being foreign artists.
"I think we have a problem with local artists, they are not submitting their applications. This year we made it a point that artists should apply through our website," he said.
Chibambo said it is high time that art¬ists embraced technology by learning to submit their applications through websites adding that the system also helps in making proper selections.
According to Chibambo so far 98 percent of the applications they have received are from foreign artists.
"The other biggest problem is that it's high time artists learned to have managers who can give them direc¬tion in terms of making applications for festivals otherwise we are losing out. We are actually planning to have workshops on this during the festival," said Chibambo.
He could not say the names of the foreign artists and locals who have ap¬plied so far.
Recently Chibambo announced that they were in discussions with celebrat¬ed Mali Afro-pop singer Salif Keita to headline this year's festival.
"We are making progress on that and once everything is in black and white, we will inform the country," he said.
BAF is also yet to make an announce¬ment on the venue having said that this year the festival will take place at one venue shifting from three in the previous festivals.
Chibambo said they were still looking forward to be given a go ahead by the government to use the former French Cultural Centre (FCC) in Blantyre which was closed last year.
The centre which was a hub of enter¬tainment was closed last year but the government's failure to pay the French Embassy in time led to thieves ransack¬ing the place which lies in ruins after it was left without security.
The government which bought the centre at K300 million needs more funds to put it in shape but BAF says it has the financial muscle to rehabilitate it with donors willing to assist them.
Meanwhile in a move that is aimed at motivating students but also building partnership, BAF has been engaging University of Malawi –Faculty of Built En¬vironment –Department of Architecture in developing promotional materials.
In the course, communication, comput¬ers & CD, students were asked to design colour promotional materials for BAF 2012 event. The promotional materials were to focus mainly on the awareness of theatre, music, drama, photography and visual arts among others.
Some of the promotional materials the students were asked to produce include T-shirt, poster and a brochure. The students have since been displaying the works at this year's Trade Fair in Blantyre.
The theme for BAF 2012 is Freedom Arts Expression. Chibambo said it was impor¬tant for them to work with the students in boosting the festival and that through the process; they will come up with the best information material.