Trust Khosa and Esther Madambi
STAMPEDE and crime marred day two of the National Castle Lager Braai Fest held at Old Hararians Sports Club.
While big crowds are expected whenever such high profile events are held, the day two debacle might have been influenced by a large number of people who were paying for the braai fest tickets at the venue.
And it dawned that local merry-makers are not yet familiar with the purchase of advance tickets.
As a result, there was a stampede on Saturday afternoon as fans jostled to catch all the action inside the stadium.
Others lost their valuables during the melee with mostly cellphones and money being stolen.
At the height of the melee, cashiers had to stop selling tickets trying to reduce the pressure but it failed to work.
Due to the situation people were then allowed to get in for free so as to avoid serious damages and loss of lives.
Others had to end partying prematurely as they had lost their belongings during the chaos despite the tight security at the venue.
Those who wanted their braai packs and beer were the only ones allowed to scan the tickets that they had already bought.
However, the online tickets were still available, which then resulted in long queues at the gates.
Meanwhile, rains did not dampen the party mood on day one of the festival.
Although the rains threatened to washout the event, fans could be seen tricking in later in the evening after the rains stopped.
Local bar owners who have shown their loyalty to Delta Corporation made a killing during the two-day fete.
Not to be outdone were braai masters who ended up charging fans for their services.
Some charges were as much as $10 or US$1 depending on the quantity of meat on sale.
However, it should be noted that service was also poor at some bars inside the show venue.
The main reason could be the huge number of fans who thronged the event which saw waitresses and bartenders being overwhelmed by merry-makers.
Services at some bars was just slow which saw some merry-makers having to bribe their way to be served first.
Merry-makers had a rare treat of live music as well as live bands.
Winky D is one of the top performers who lit up the day two of the festival.
Despite the economic challenges merry-makers are facing, it was indeed a successful event as they defied odds.
It was also evident that merry-makers are now treading with caution in the wake of the economic challenges.
Themed parties have been attracting bumper crowds as fans want something unique as compared to the traditional events.
The braai fest is one of the major events on the entertainment calendar after the demise of other festivals like Hifa, which has been shelved.