Various social-media users and artists recently caused a frenzy over event organisers who do not book local artists for events that take place in the province.
They claim to not be empowered by the organisers and are not taken seriously as performers.
Mpumalanga News spoke to renowned event organisers, who explained what they look for when booking artists.
Delani Mofokeng – events and advertising manager, Nabalabantfu Investments
“Our focus is not only on promoting local artists, but for the benefit of the community as a whole to contribute to the growth of the local economy. When hosting an event, we use locals for services, but it also depends on what value each individual will bring to the event. You can’t use just anyone who is available. In the end, one needs to protect their brand, hence it isn’t only about pulling the crowd with a massive line-up, but it is also about offering revellers the whole experience. For our events, we usually run a social-media campaign where people have the opportunity to nominate the local artists they would like to see perform. It is open to people from Nkomazi, KaBokweni, Barberton and other areas. The response from social-media users determines how well the event will be attended, which makes it easy to have a mutually beneficial relationship between the artists and organisers.
“Communication on social media makes it easier to monitor the nominated artists’ following, which then makes sense to book a well-known DJ or that ordinary guy we have never heard of. But we should not forget that we need artists who will attract people to the event and with local artists in the line-up, to put a cherry on top, we bring in a few popular ones in the industry. That transition depends on ticket sales and affordability.”
Bruce Kgapane – Ziyaphenduka Productions
“There are two perspectives when it comes to booking local artists to an event. First of all, when a promoter organises an event, it is for commercial reasons, meaning you want to profit from the event. Secondly, you look at artists who will bring value to the event. Fifty out of 100 local artists do not take their craft seriously. They are not developing their skills, and that is one of the reasons why local artists are not making it. They continue selling themselves short in the market. You cannot expect a promoter to book an artist who people see every day. An artist who performs at weddings and other local events for free, but expects to be paid when booked for a big event. How do we then take that kind of artist seriously? They will not bring any value to the event. Instead, they need to take introspection about their craft and start treating themselves seriously and be committed artists who want to make it in the industry.”
Josta Sekgota – Mpumalanga Comes Alive
“Our criterion is a mixture of national and Mpumalanga-based artists, placing the up-and-coming artists on a pedestal and affording them an opportunity to showcase their talent to a bigger market and to celebrate the rich cultural diversity in the province. Hence Mpumalanga Comes Alive has over 22 locally based artists in its line-up this year and most importantly, to empower them. We have always identified raw talent from local artists and put our full support behind them to enable local economic growth. Just last year, the ninth Mpumalanga Comes Alive sourced all suppliers from the province. Even though the event is privately owned and funded, we have an obligation to support local businesses, hence we have supported graduate chefs from MRTT for the past six years for our catering, marshals and security from Mataffin. Stalls, marquees, tents and furniture sources are from local suppliers. Even the sound system is sourced from one of the biggest growing local entrepreneurs, TMM. We all have an obligation to not let Mbombela Stadium become a white elephant. The event is a great platform to show off the city, hotels and entertainment joints. We also offer special packages for visitors beyond our borders and soon we will be rolling our marketing to Maputo and Swaziland.”