By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
The narrative was supposed to be hinged on how well the artistes on the bill performed, the sort of fun had by patrons and essentially, on how the headline act was able to wow the audience with his repertoire. The conversation was supposed to center on how the event would set the pace for all the other events slated for this month.
Unfortunately, after days of what turned out to be a nightmare for both patrons and organizers of the event – the chatter has been on reasons Wizkid, R2Bees and King Promise refused to perform, the agitation from the many patrons who paid, waited for hours for Wizkid and the talk of court action and the possibility of refund for all the disappointed patrons.
The last time any international act pulled a no-show was in 2013 when Jamaican artiste, Elephant Man, failed to show up for the Raukus/Bullhaus/Solid Multimedia’s now-defunct BASS Awards.
Industry stalwart, Nana Asiamoah Hanson (Bullgod) reacting to the matter on Hitz 103.9FM espoused the idea that, perhaps, things turned out the way they transpired due to the fact that, Live Hub, organizers of the ill-fated ‘Wizkid Live in Ghana’ concert had no track record. He compared Live Hub to CharterHouse – claiming that the latter has pedigree, a brand built over the years that has earned the trust of Ghanaians. He queried the pedigree of Live Hub in the events space.
Digital and showbiz honcho, Kelly Nii Lartey Mensa, on his Facebook page, suggested that business entities willing to make a foray into events ought to build events portfolio like Wildaland, Afrochella, AfroNation, TRIBVL, River Jamboree, etc. His justification is that, when the event is not built and projected around one artiste, the show would still go on even without the appearance of the main act.
Both Bullgod and Kelly have strong points but their claims cannot be entirely true. Indeed Charterhouse has been here for the past 2 decades and has built such a solid reputation, but the point is; they started from somewhere. In building that pedigree, one needs to start from somewhere and build that trust as you proceed. A good start was all Live Hub needed.
There’s also nothing wrong building an event around one high-profile artiste. Many reputable event houses are champions in that regard and have no related issues. In fact, if the show had become successful, the issue of building event portfolios would not even suffice.
Clearly, one can’t help but empathize with the personnel at Live Hub but they can’t go without blame. From promotion and marketing of the event to ticketing to stage set-up and attendance, they could have done a better job.
It’s a big deal if you want to make Wizkid your headline act considering the fact that; he’s had such an illustrious year, topping charts, winning awards and filling arenas across the world. He’s become used to a certain lifestyle and getting comfortable with the sight of a number of audience, so, billing an artiste like him gives an impression on what should be expected.
Having the mentality to fill the 40,000 Accra Sports Stadium is such a tall order for any musical concert, so, once you plan to engage a Wizkid in such an open space, it means you got to go all out to make it happen.
In the phase of planning production, the moment you fix the stage in the middle of the stadium, it clearly shows you have the intention of filling almost every seat; you need make it work. Whether it is via selling tickets and filling the place with free entry – just make it work.
Promotion and marketing was abysmal with organizers running like headless chicken trying to give out tickets in a bid to fill the stadium. With tact and strategy, the stadium could have easily been filled whether it was based on free tickets or not.
How do you host a international act like Wizkid, who has seen international standard level of production and be doing sound check as late as 9pm? How?
The Wizkid Complicity
Patrons purchased tickets not to come see Live Hub or whoever facilitated the event. They came to see the main guy who the entire event was centered on, that one guy whose name was used to project and sell the show. They expended resources, energy and time to come see that guy whose images were splattered on all posters and materials for the event. They came to see Wizkid!
Wizkid is overly experienced not to know that he is responsible for the event as the headline act. In any eventuality, he would be held liable just as whoever put the event together.
He has a team and in such partnership, his personnel were expected to handle the event like it was their own production. They were expected to immerse themselves in every aspect the event; from planning to promotion to production.
You don’t place your reputable name, face and brand on a project and go to sleep. That’s a sign of irresponsible!
R2Bees & King Promise
It is no secret that there’s been a bond between the duo R2Bees and Wizkid, a relationship that span quite a number of years, and most recently, due to that connection, King Promise has been able to strike such an eye-pleasing affiliation with the Nigerian star.
It is quite understandable that based on allegiance, R2Bees and King Promise, who especially has enjoyed an appreciable level of exposure on the back of Wizkid would align with the latter – but they should have applied common sense.
An event being held in Ghana, financed by Ghanaians and predominantly attended by Ghanaians, most of whom are fans of these Ghanaian artistes – these guys could have applied wisdom in handling the matter.
After the chips fell, Wizkid left to play other gigs elsewhere and is going about his business. Guess what? R2Bees is here in Ghana promoting their new song, expecting the same Ghanaians and others they disappointed to patronize their music. King Promise is promoting his annual ‘Promise land’ concert, expecting the same people he ‘disrespected’ to show up?
Here Comes the Cheerleaders
Led by Media Executive and broadcast journalist, Nana Aba Anamoah, there were a few personalities who refused to blame Wizkid for such an eventuality and were quick to lay all blame on the organizers. Incredulously, the likes of Ms. Anamoah are also event planners and command that knowledge and comprehension in what goes into putting events together.
The blatant disregard for patrons and the speed to lay all blame on Live Hub, especially from a personality like Ms. Anamoah was disappointing. With such influence and respect, she could have done better.
If it were a Ghanaian artiste who was involved in such a debacle, these cheerleaders would not have even remembered the names of the event planners, but for Wizkid, they are quick to yelp and point out who the event planners are and offer unwanted explanations on exactly what ought should have been.
The likes of Ms. Anamoah, who are Media Executives, need to give more respect to these planners and when something goes awry, it is only germane for such people to exercise restraint in offering analysis and judgment. It is these same events people that offer businesses to the likes of Nana Aba and other media houses.
Be wise, apply tact, and exhibit decorum!
Protect the Investor, Value the fan
The two most important elements in the business of arts and entertainment are the investor and the fan. Without that investor, they will be no proper financial muscle to propel brands and projects in the business.
The money invested by Live Hub into the Wizkid event went into pockets of quite a number of personnel in the industry; production house, event suppliers, technicians, security personnel, media, artistes and their handlers. Every person went home smiling after getting paid with the anticipation that such revenue would boost his or her respective businesses.
Without investment, there’s no industry!
The other important element in show business is that fan. Without the patron, we have no business. We are in business because that fan/patron buys our songs, movies, tickets and everything else. Put value on their contribution!