Coronavirus: Events organisers lose big

By: Kofi Duah
Ghanaian events organisers lose big over coronavirus
Sadiq Abdulai Abu is the organiser of the 3Music Awards
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THE impact of the measures announced by President Nana Akufo-Addo to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Ghana is being felt in various sectors, and one of the worst affected is the entertainment industry.

Last Sunday, the President announced a four-week ban on all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities such as services in churches and mosques.

For events organisers, especially those in the entertainment sector, the consequences of such a ban are great. Some events affected in the four-week ban include the Legon Hall Week Artiste Night (March 14), Accra Music Expo (March 21), Accra Fashion Week (March 25) and the 3Music Awards (March 28).

The rest are Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) on March 28, singer Adina’s Ahaban Benefit Concert (March 28), Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Nominees Jam (April 4), Easter Comedy Show (Easter Saturday), Kwahu Easter among others.

The Artiste Night is one of the biggest activities in the line up of the Legon Hall Week on the University of Ghana, Legon campus and the organiser, Abdoulaye Traore, told Graphic Showbiz on Monday, March 16 that he is on the verge of losing over GH¢100,000 he sunk into the event.

The event was scheduled for Saturday, March 14 and Abdoulaye Traore said after a case of coronavirus was recorded on the University of Ghana campus, the school authorities put a hold on all events which meant his event was cancelled.

“We spent more than GH¢100, 000 for the preparation. We hired close to 30 security men and paid all the artistes billed to perform at the show.

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Abdoulaye Traore is the organiser of the Legon Hall Week Artiste Night

“We also paid for radio, TV and online promotions just to make the show a success but unfortunately, we had to call it off to make sure everyone is safe. We went through so much planning for the event and paying the artistes but all the efforts just went down the drain,” he said.

According to Abdoulaye, some of the payments, especially those made to the artistes, were not refundable and he expressed the hope that everything would go back to normal soon so event organisers could continue doing their shows.

Some of the artistes who were on the bill of Artiste Night were Edem, Tulenkey, Sista Afia, AK Songtress, Cocotreyy, Nii Funny, Addi Self, Opanka, Natty Lee and Epixode.

CEO of the 3Music Networks, organisers of the 3Music Awards, Sadiq Abdulai Abu, said they had spent about GH¢50,000 so far on radio and television jingles as well as events heralding the awards night such as the 3Music Women’s Brunch on March 8 and the 3Music Awards Fan Fest which was slated for March 14 but was cancelled.

Sadiq Abdulai Abu

“Although a lot of preparations and money had gone into making sure everything goes well with the third edition of the event, we still had to call it off. We cancelled the show even before the president came out with the announcement about the ban on public activities,“ he told Graphic Showbiz.

Sadiq said he didn’t want to call the money spent so far a loss because they were considering holding the event further in the year.

Robert Klah is PRO of Charterhouse

While Robert Klah, PRO of Charterhouse, organisers of the VGMA, would not mention figures, he said there were financial implications. Charterhouse has already cancelled the Nominees Jam which would have come off on April 4 in the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua.

“It has affected our entertainment calendar because there are other things we need to do. There are financial implications because we need to get back to our sponsors and the artistes that is, if they will even be available to perform should we call them back,” he said.

The Easter festivities have also been hard hit by the ban and one event which has become popular in this period, the Easter Comedy Show, has not been spared.

According to Nabil Alhassan, CEO of Event Factory, the outfit which powers the show, although he has had to cancel not only the Easter Comedy Show but other events, the President’s ban was a step in the right direction.

Nabil Alhassan is organiser of the Easter Comedy Show

“Although this is affecting business and sales, the directive by the president is a good one. Our health is more important and with the way the virus is spreading across the globe, it is just right the president took this measure.

"We should have closed our borders when we heard of the virus. But it is better late than never and I am glad all the cases we have recorded were contracted from outside the country,” he said.