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.
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.