The annual Marula Festival in Phalaborwa, Limpopo, was proclaimed "a serious bore" by local artists.
The artists, who were billed to perform at the festival, allegedly accused the department of economic development and the Greater Ba-Phalaborwa municipality of giving Gauteng artists preference over local artists.
Some artists told Sowetanyesterday they were billed toperform on Friday and Saturdaybut were informed at the 11thhour that their slots would betaken by four performers from Gauteng.
Among those who were kicked out late was popular Moocah Mokgalaka of Phalaborwa. He said he he was later told that his place had been given to a Gauteng artist.
Mokgalaka, who has performed at the festival since its inception in 2006, claimed he always charged the lowest possible price for his performances but Gauteng artists were always given preference and paid three times more than local musicians.
Another muso, Ngalizo, echoed Mokgalaka's sentiments.
"This is our festival and we should be given time to showcase our skills to our communities.
"If they do not give us a chance to perform here, where are we going to perform?" asked Ngalizo.
In response to the allegations, departmental spokesman Lehlogonolo Masoga said the department paid the artists according to what they charged.
Masoga rejected allegations that locals were not given preference and said a few of them were given a chance to perform on Friday. Masoga said artists such as Ringo, Colbert Mukwevo, Xhinyori and Worship House were paid good money, "what the department could afford".