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.

Tinashe Sibanda

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. Tickets to a Bryan Adams show were sold from a box office located in Borrowdale for $30 to $100 per person yet the promoter says, “While you correctly point out the turn-out was predominantly white. I am not sure of the reason.”

    Is this a joke or something? Average ticket $65? Borrowdale box office? Bryan Adams?

    When Alick Macheso tickets are sold in Chitungwiza for $2, only a fool will wonder why the audience will be all black!

    • @scotv I get your point. Fact remains whites have nothing to learn from blacks. They are superior and mighty. They may not tell you but that’s what they think and know. A case in point: We ‘invented’ the Vuvuzela at the 2010 World Cup in SA. It died soon after the sporting showcase. Go to England and attend a soccer match with your ‘popular Vuvu’. A steward will surely help out of the stadium for making African noise. So? That Bryan Adams audience was very unnatural in this setting. Some strategy of exclusion was used one way or the other. Just to show you that the white community can still their own thing here in the sacred land of Mughabi!

  2. Macheso is not forbidden from selling his tickets at $100 at a box office in Borrowdale or any other place. Adams is only by known by ‘old skool’ in Chitungwiza. Promoters are out to make money and not to provide a social service!

    • Well said Mental Gymnastics. Rock music is favoured mostly by whites if it were Usher or Chris Brown the audience would have been different. Scotv your comments are at times shamefully mischievous and sometimes on the spot, this time however you are just being mischievous.

    • YOU LIE. it was never about money. But about opportunity to buy a ticket. If you claim to know the demographic everything about the Zimbabwean likes and dislikes, then you have a loose screw in your head. If there are no whites at Macheso, Jah prayzah etc shows, i will defend to death your right to voice your concerns and speculation if you are denied entry, or if you are told that the place is full. Meantime, i will voice your nefarious attitude. Whites never change. Old habits die hard. In Zim, we are older and wiser, try SA, but within 20 years or so, they will be wiser.

  3. Haiwawo,jah prayza mkudzei mkombe wekudana mapurisa nekuti Sekuru vake vaive vakumbirwa chioko muhomwe,is just pompous out of nothing.pray for him panotaurwa zvabrian Adams taurai zvamacheso it’s better.

  4. is this a reply to the article written by some foolish journalist from a rival paper. I mean if you have a bryan adams show and the tickets are going for $35 you wouldnt expect to sell the tickets in mbare ka. I mean even at a $2 show you still get people coming and negotiate to pay a dollar to get. white folk know that entertainment is business so they pay whatever is asked of and they dont want the black mentality of wanting the nice things yet they dont wanna pay for it. tuku’s shows are expensive and no one complaints. who cares if there were a lot of white folk at another old white artist’s show? I see no reason why people should complain. are white people in this country not allowed to enjoy themselves. the show was organised coz white folk is organised.

    • Well articulated Old Sport! Its the target audience that marketing strategies are formulated from, stupid! Without understanding your particular target audience you will never make it in the world of marketing, be it food, clothes, media or arts marketing.How do you sell a Rolling Stones concert to an audience in Chitungwiza or Mbare? Equally how do you hope to sell a dancehall act to an audience in Highlands? 34 years down the line crude characters like Munjanja still see racism whichever direction they look?

    • Old sport you are correct!The atricle you refer to in a rival paper is the worst piece of journalism I have ever read. Maxwell sibanda you are a racist and an ignorrant waste of oxygen.May you reap what you sow

  5. Obviously the targeted audience was the white ppl..dont u deny it..who said its a problem…dnt be defensive…mazimbabweans anoda zvinhu a person from the ghetto can attend a 30 dollar show..its not about the money

  6. Whites are clever, If they do want want you in their circles they just hike the cost, look at the private schools now

  7. Hey no need to be defensive. Promoters are in business and they target thier audiences to achieve whatever results they want. In this case they targeted white folk. Its not a crime is it???

  8. Most of you were brought up on a diet of sungura so the Brian Adams stuff would be like opposition politics.

  9. I am a black Zimbabwean who was a fan of Bryan Adams until this concert. We only heard about the show and the tickets after an article said the tickets had sold out. I think the racve element was there. Nothing wrong with being elitist and not giving others a chance. In SA they use Computicket and you always have a fair chance. I am not alone in suspecting either Bryan Adams or his promoter is an intolerant racist. Some of his songs are popular on radio and weddings. This stinks

    • You are a fool and just venting because you couldnt get a ticket. Its obvious that it will sell out quick if there is limited space.How narrow minded you must be to think Brian Adams is a racist!

  10. 30-100 for a concert 2-3 months away is not beyond a black Zimbabwean who stays in the Ghetto if he wants to spend it. Mr Promoter you haven’t covered yourself in glory. I heard Adams remarked: Am I in Europe? Or something. Of course not. You are in Zim but we have whitewashed the blacks. Imagine for an evening: life without blacks

  11. Oooooh hold it all made sense until I realise now that something is not right here

    1. the concert was advertised by a nzwisa advert on 14 nov
    2. on 15 nov at it was aired on zifm
    3. by lunchtme on the same 15nov the tickets were sold out
    4. these tickets were sold manually (read no one could buy online)

    My Question
    How did the Zambians Mozambicans Malawians et al managed to buy these tickets from say 07h00-13h00 on 15 nov in borrowdale harare
    The promoter is not telling us something

    Most of the times I view Scotv as a mercenary but this time he/she is spot on

    My point:…………….

  12. Two or three shows would have been a good idea to keepaway the likes of Scotv and his chimurenga theories. Mugabe has infected all of you with his phobia for anything white, timbermyshakes!

  13. muzik is good fo every saul ,everyone,everything and its a necesity to human kind.the act that u may get even from conner first street, its an offence to watch and move away without paying a bill even if the admission is not known drop a coin and move on.majaira kusabhadhara artists are aught to b paid and every act goes with a distinguished group as a target of market

  14. I attended a Zahara and Ruku show at same ve nue jt was orderly the ticksts were avail at Cbicke Inn n venue. Noone ever said it was orderly. Now varungu stage an all whites show which deliberately excludes blacks n u fall over each other to praise em. No matter what u do whites will never accept blacks as equals never. U there to b expllited home n away.

  15. So you guys did NOT know all along that Whites in Zim have an underground networking system : infact an emailing network that enables them to update each other not only about such social events but also about supporting each other’s business. Whites support White businesses. Indians Support Indian Businesses. Isu ma blacks we prefer buying from white shop or Indian shop . Thats the reality. The whites around are an exclusive lot. . They are like that and will always be like that. Those racist tendencies though watered down by fatigue are still in their bloodstream. What we blacks should do though is to support each others’ business like whites and indians do . Wati wamboona an Indian buying something from a black man’s shop iwe ? So that Brian Adams Concert was first advertised in the whites only Emailing system (which you only enter into by invitation – like the CABS PLATINUM CLUB (although the cabs platinum club they try to invite few black members/companies to provide the coconut shell of the coconut). 75% of the tickets where sold on the whites only emailing system and the 25% was open to the general public.

  16. If you wanted 2 experience racism first hand then you shld ve attended that show. Wherever you decided 2 sit would ve been isolated n be the last to fill up. As usual you wld try 2 start co nversation n be totally ignored by white itching to tell u something obscene about our president. HAVAKUDEI vanhu ava not even Chamatama

  17. Muchinyanya, if they are so bad why was our President so happy to go to the Britain until they stopped him? Why can you not arrange to bring Brian Adams to Zim and make a killing? Why do you have to always complain? For your sake brothers and sisters try and do your own thing. There are blacks with lots of money in Zimbabwe, millionaires, why not ask them to bring him back and sell the tickets in Mbare and to avoid a backlash from the rural population why not reserve some seats for them too? Brothers and sisters, if this is the way we are going to operate I am afraid hapana kwatiri kuinda. Its unfortunate but the leadership has most of us adopting an approach to life that will not take us as individuals and collectively as a country anywhere. Since there are so many black millionaires why are we not seeing them invest in new companies, build new schools etc. All I have observed is a scenario where someone eyes a company which is being run properly, takes over the target business using the political muscle bestowed on us all by our president and strips whatever it is to the bone and leaves the place on the ground to look for other targets. This predatory modus operandi does not create employment, if anything it has contributed its share to unemployment. When shall we be proud to build something of our own from scratch. Until that approach becomes the norm then I am afraid we will remain poor because we are running out of targets to takeover and future generations will never understand our stupidity.

  18. The problem is isusu vanhu vatema want to be among them whites to feel good abt ourselves. Wy not have the same private clubs,networks and support groups for ourselves and make them exclusive to us in a way. Organise our own gigs and attend them tega and not worry when they have their own. The money they spend in these clubs imari dzedu which we can deny them by not buying from their shops etc.

  19. Say it was a get together party for ex farmers. So new farmers organize something for yourselves and no one would dare to ask you. Hakula problem, these ex farmers don’t ever bother you at Macheso or Kand Bongoman shows. A child of two worlds.

  20. Much ado about nothing! Its highly probable that an Indian dance troupe will have a largely Indian audience! What the heck is wrong with that? Our black folks make more money when they tour Europe, America, UK….etc Hatisapotani magents-period. Kana varungu vachisapotana we cry foul! This culture of politicising everything is retrogressive. Remember Zimbabwe is not a homogenous society!

  21. If at all we had the black man at heart, Lovemore Majaivana would be a multi-millionaire USD. Nicholas Zacharia ‘Madzibaba’ shows are being attended by an average of 27 people despite wide advance publicity in print and electronic media. Shame maningi sitereki!

  22. The problem is that there are persons who still suffer from cultural hegemony. The basic principle is that all people have different worldviews. People must learn to appreciate what they have but because people cannot learn to appreciate what they, they feel to have been left out. The show by its virtue was discriminatory though. People must refuse to think like victims. Our own musicians have been allover the globe and have even performed at largely packed venues,.Some even had their shoes kissed, even playing gofingo. Tickets can be sold anywhere, whether Mbare, Mutorashanga, Gumbonzvanda, Kuchindeche, Muswewembudzi, and so forth, but at the end of the day its all about ability to pay. How can a person be asked to buy six tickets?, My foot! Because the pain of knowing who we are is so great, we spend a lifetime running ourselves. We have become experts in dodging, pretending, covering, running,protecting, eluding,escaping,averting, evading the real us. Escape from ourselves is the way most of us have chosen to live our lives.

Comments are closed.