Bryan Adams concert: Lesson for promoters


ZIMBABWE has for a long time hosted international artistes to perform, but the recently held Bryan Adams — Bare Bones Concert, which sold out was a tremendous success with high levels of orderliness.

By Tinashe Sibanda
Entertainment Reporter

The audience was treated to world class performance at the Rainbow Towers where they were directed to secure parking bays before joining a hustle-free queue which led to the main auditorium.

Several shows in the past have been marred by commotion with fans wanting to buy last minute tickets, creating chaos for those that would have bought tickets in advance. One of the biggest shows that Zimbabwe hosted was the Akon-Sean Paul show where policemen with dogs tried to maintain order as fans jumped over the fenced National Sports Stadium, and the VIP ring, which was called The Golden Circle, was brought down to non-VIP by gate crashing fans. That resulted in an overcrowded show that created discomfort for those that had bought tickets for that space.

However, this time around, all was in order for those that attended the Bare Bones Tour which, according to the event organiser Gabriel Ettlin, the artiste contractually stipulated the type of venue required for the show to be held indoors, with a seated capacity of 3 475 people.

“All the tickets were sold out to the 3 475 and kindly note that there have been a few comments in regards to spare seats, and this is a correct observation, due to the contractual capacity limitations and also because we did not sell any seats that lacked an unobstructed view of the stage,” he said.

Ettlin said most of the success in regards to attendance must be attributed to Bryan Adams who is an international brand.

He said the musician has been in business for a long time, having an amazing repertoire and a proven track record as one of the world’s best live performers whose tickets would never have been difficult to sell.

“We, as the promoters, made a very clear and educated decision to formally and contractually engage with official media partners for this show and the basis for this decision was to ensure that the show be announced and marketed through official and transparent channels and to cover the broadest possible demographic of Zimbabweans in a fair and completely unselective manner,” Ettlin said.

Promoters selected Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) as their print media partner and ZiFM as their radio media partner.

The partners’ logos were included in all official artwork.

Details were contractually conveyed to both media partners and hence accrued these exclusive rights. The marketing campaign was rolled out first on Thursday, November 14, 2013, with a teaser placed in NewsDay in the form of an advert.

The following day on November 15 the story was aired at 7am by ZiFM.

On Friday November 15 the story was published by AMH’s Zimbabwe Independent with a full page advert plus editorial with box office details released on this editorial and on ZiFM.

On Sunday November 17, a full page advert with an update on box office details was also released.

“With a project of this magnitude you are always going to be faced with challenges, but I am very pleased and very proud of the entire team that worked tirelessly to make the whole thing come together and I hope that all parties involved have taken the opportunity to learn from this experience as it was a first for many, and to be even better prepared when we bring in the next International Artist,” Ettlin said.

He said he was also very grateful to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, the Department of Immigration and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for attending to their applications and requirements in a courteous and professional manner.

Asked for his views on why the concert had attracted people from other countries, Ettlin said other than in South Africa, where they have a proven track record in hosting such shows, there is no similar platform regionally.

For this very reason, people from as far as Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and Malawi came to Harare to be part of the show.

“It thrills me that Zimbabwe has stepped up to the plate and through the Bryan Adams show announced that it is not only willing, but also able to host other artists of his calibre and very importantly also source and provide the equipment levels and technical expertise and service required by them,” he added.

He said music was a universal language that was enjoyed by all races and thus unquestionably, certain artists and genres of music appealed to different audiences resulting in this concert attracting a multi-racial audience.

“I think the election of media partners that cover the broadest possible demographic made the show known to all,” he added.

For the first time we saw a huge white audience attendance. Asked how he had won this audience, Ettlin said: “While you correctly point out the turn-out was predominantly white. I am not sure of the reason.”

He said he thought, based on massive last-minute demand that Zimbabweans in general were not used to the concept of securing their tickets early, as most shows sold only in the week leading up to the show or even on the night.

“For artistes of this calibre, the mindset will have to change and I sincerely hope that next time around more people will be proactive in securing their tickets early,” he added.

He said tickets for the Bryan Adams show ranged from $30 to $100 therefore it is was fairly obvious that the target market had to be secured in the affluent suburbs of Harare.

Ettlin said as a direct result, the tickets were sold from a specially constructed public box office, conveniently located in Borrowdale and once the story broke, eager fans made their way to the box office where people queued for hours to buy their tickets which were being sold manually.

“A maximum of 6 tickets per person was enforced to ensure a fair distribution of tickets took place and so that no one person could secure a block booking. The ticketing process was open, transparent and very professionally organised and the tickets were all sold out by lunchtime on Saturday November 15 and this was communicated in the Standard newspaper on Sunday,” he said.

However, the organiser said they were currently in negotiations with other artistes whose names could not be disclosed as it was only permitted once they are contracted.

He went on to say that the success of this particular show should make other artistes feel comfortable engaging them.

“One has to understand that bringing such artistes to Zimbabwe is a very costly undertaking and only really feasible if we add a leg to an already scheduled South African tour, as was the case with Bryan Adams,” Ettlin said.

He said they had forged a very good working relationship with Big Concerts, the largest promoter in South Africa and hoped to build on this moving forward.


  1. Reporter doing a PR job. The only lesson to learn is on how RACISM. How do you announce a show saying it’s sold out at the same time. How do tickets end up in Malawi, Zambia etc when we were never told where they were selling? How do you explain the all white audience In Zim? Even Bryan Adams was ‘reportedly’ surprised. These people are decidedly racists who preach equality. History is full of such. Sometimes they deserve what they get. They never change.

    • Taura hako. The show was kept ‘under wraps ‘ until the last minute to exclude indigenous Zimbabweans. The only lesson for promoters is on ‘How to not promote racism when promoting a show’.

    • Munjanja buddy you are a fool..This show was advertised in November the tickets were sold at the designated points. You sound like those two buffoons from Herald & Daily News who choose to write this article bordering the racial line.

      Isu chana chevhu were there had good time, its your own fault that you are not religious about the music fan that you adhore. Hakuzi kundari kuno!!

  2. @ munjanja thats a good observation. Racism at its worst. & this black reporter is being used to do their Pr work. No wonder y these whites fellas are chased out lyk dogs. They r ungrateful lot. The selling of their tickets was done systematically to ensure that they feel the auditorium on their own. Mayb zanu pf z ryt after all.

  3. Its the first time im hearing of a box office booth in Borrowdale selling thee tickets. How about us Ghetto Youths? Newsday dont be used, these guys did an exclusion job. This was a white man event only and a few blacks to diffuse attention. The day that this was announced was the same day that it was said its full. This promoter should never be allowed to bring any artist again to zim. Offer me the $100 ticket in Mbare and its upto me not to buy it and i wont have complains.

  4. surely its us blacks who are now racist,tell of any black man espcly from the ghetto anotenga ticket in advance.all the shows even yaAkon they were advance tickets but we chose to buy on entry,unfrtnately we cldnt cz they were sold out,so poor planning on our side is racism?! poor minds makaurawa namugabe imi

    • But at least to buy in advance or not to buy should be a choice. We should have known where they were being sold tozonzi apera. Mind you not all blacks live in Ghettos. You can’t tell me Cuthbert Dube, Happy Muchechetere, Mavis Gumbo, Pfumbidzai, Zesa CEO, Gwindi, Chivhayo, and myself taishaya ka $100- back pocket change. If you are not white, then wakaremadzwa pfungwa nemavheti. Racism hatirambidzi asi itirai kunyika dzenyu.

  5. Zvinebasarei koz makati ngichani hadzina musha saka dzakaita party yadzo muchivande saka musacheme vana veZimbabwe koz idzi inhubu…

  6. I wonder why people are complaining.Endaika munoona vanaTaurai Mteki and the likes of Tambaoga vachiimba dzenyu dzechimurenga.Invite Chinx azokuimbirai zvemuhondo yakaitika 33 yrs ago.Musawawate zvisina musoro. Mune vaimbi venyu saka organise a show moenda mugoona kuti anokubvunzai kuti why did the white populace not attended ndiyani.Viva THE CLEVER AND ORGANISED PROMOTER.

  7. Well the thing is this and there is truth in it. There is a well oiled network which the whites have for all sorts of things and when it comes to shows like this then of course it is offered through the network to whites and friends of whites which might include what they term the “better blacks” to give it a multi racial look. I am surprised that zim society in general seems to know very little of this or they ignore it. The answer is a simple one yet difficult in who can replace the event organizer who was Davies Events as they did organize a very well run and orderly event and that is the only thing that was good about the whole sorry episode! Pity they do not look at the well run and truly multi racial annual event like HIFA and take a page from their book! Wake up Zimbabwe!

    • you have a point about these people. You truly have. But i took it personally. When they wailed about this and that, i would understand and sympathize with them. But eish…..

  8. lets look back inordr for us to deal with this issue. Akon came and you were invited, wht happened? Sean Kingston came you were invited,happene? All these concerts were marred by confusion. Why? Because you blacks were in the equition. Truth be told,you are not organised. Mind you, This is business and not a gala. Why shld you tell me how to run my business.

    • NOBODY IS TELLING YOU HOW TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS. But if you discriminate, you have no right to run a discriminatory business here. Like somebody said, i didn’t understand when you were chased from farms like dogs or skunks, now I DO. I REALLY DO. I WOULD CHASE YOU MYSELF. SURE I WOULD.

  9. Yeah munjanja im glad u now understand with we had to chase them from our farms!!!,why dont they just go to Europe or America,or even to the moon,we really dont care,they can do their white-supremacy ku-klux thing there hatitombo ita basa nazvo,but not on zimbabwean soil

  10. racism 

    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    racism or racialism
    — n

    1. the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others
    2. abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief

  11. Safety first.
    Munonyanya kuba vanhu vatema. Maidei kwaAdams? Maphone handiti?
    Bhunu rakangwara rinongoti kuzvipedza kuvharira panze. Itai zvenyu. There is no racism here, even a poor vagrant didn’t attend. Kwaipinda munhu anetwunhu twake asingachive phone yemumwe. Show yaMacheso kumuzinda makaenda here?

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