The 2017 edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), scheduled to run from April 25 to 30, will see a mix of new innovations meant to improve the festival experience, NewsDay can reveal.
Festival founder and artistic director Manuel Bagorro said the developments were meant to enhance the arts and culture fete.
“We want that experience to be safe, efficient and above all enjoyable and inspiring. The things we are adding to the festival are all aimed at aiding that,” Bagorro said.
The organisers are also seeking to increase their operational efficiency and enhance standards.
Hifa executive director, Maria Wilson, said there will also be new technological advancements.
“An example of this is the wristbands, which have become synonymous with the festival. While they have been a Hifa feature for several years, the ones that will be used in 2017 will have embedded electronic fidelity capabilities which make them tamper-proof,” she said.
Wilson said while the new wristbands will enable organisers to know the number of people on site at any given time, attempts to tamper with it will invalidate it.
“Hifa 2017 will have a technology hub where the tech-savvy will be able to access various services including public interactive hardware, temporary phone power banks or phone charging. This will be part of an integrated ‘chill-out’ area to cater not only for the technology-addicted millennials, but all festival goers,” Wilson said.
She said there will also be free shuttle bus services around the venues as well as secure, off-site parking with free shuttles to and from the parking area.
Although efforts have been made to ensure Hifa was safe, Wilson dissuaded people from bringing valuables to the festival.
She added that tickets will be sold online, complemented by swipe machines which they have always had at their box offices, but these will be extended to other sections including the VIP Green Room and food and beverage points.
“Given the country’s cash-crunch-induced move towards paperless transactions, selling tickets online will be a welcome relief for audiences who might not even be in the country at the time ticket sales begin. The electronic transaction move will also be complemented by swipe machines which will be more commonplace throughout the site,” she said.