Despite the challenges it faced in the build up to its kick-off, the 2014 GMW Festival organised by the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) exceeded expectations and according to the organisers, it recorded many positives. The objectives were also met. Three hearty cheers: Hip, hip, hip!
However, on Saturday March 8, I left the Accra Sports Stadium disappointed after watching the GH-All Star Live Concert which climaxed the week-long festival.
When dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale brought his almost two-hour energy-filled act to an end, I had to leave immediately and did nor bother to stay to watch the wrap-up performances that followed.
At 4am I was simply too tired to stay any longer to see the rest of the performances, especially from Samini, Stonebwoy and the two Jamaican Dancehall acts, PopCaan and Jah Vinci. It was all because the show started rather too late.
Again, security at the event was awful, something that the organisers themselves conceded. Due to the poor security at the venue, many VIP card holders could not get seats because some unwelcome guests who found an illegal route to the VIP area occupied the seats and would not budge.
As I left the Accra Sports Stadium disappointed due to my inability to see the rest of the big publicised artistes, I arrived at the following points which should serve as lessons for next year’s edition.
The GMW is the property of all the musicians in Ghana, especially those who are registered members of MUSIGA who organise the festival on behalf of its members.
So by this, I do not think that, I’m the right person to advise Ghanaian musicians that, the festival belongs to them and therefore must take full participation in it. They have to know this themselves.
It should be noted that, the success of the festival could determine how serious the government of Ghana will take the Union at other areas.
Yes, the government of Ghana made available some funds to the Union to help in its affairs. There are also other areas that the government can be of help to them. But the Union must show its readiness and seriousness to obtain such assistance.
I think it should be in the interest of the country’s musicians to help in making the festival a big brand. MUSIGA must do more to bring more musicians on board and be present and fully partake in the festival than before. Most of them didn’t show up at the launch.
Ghana Music Day
To kick-off the festival, MUSIGA President called on the media to give space and airtime in promoting and advancing the cause of the celebrations of Ghanaian music.
He asked the media and Ghanaians to put aside all other types of music and give much attention to Ghanaian music on Monday March 3, which was tagged as Ghana Music Day.
He asked and urged all radio and television stations in Ghana to dedicate the day to only Ghanaian music to honour the hardworking musicians who spend sleepless nights in the studio just to do music for the consumption of Ghanaians.
Most radio and television stations in Accra treated the MUSIGA request with disdain. I cannot confirm if the others outside Accra adhered to the directives but chances are that, they disobeyed it also.
Can they be held culpable for that? No, because there was no one there to see to the adherence of the directives.
I’m one of the people in support of and believe in the Music Day dream. It is a dream that needs to be nursed well and I think more should be done to see to its realisation than just issue out mere words.
As the recognised union that champions the affairs of Ghanaian musicians in the country, MUSIGA must grow above mere words of intent. They must capitalise and partner the stations to see this particular dream materialise.
I’m dreaming of the day that, foreign music will be confined to the background so that Ghanaian music can get all the attention on the airwaves.
Ghana Music Honours
There is a popular saying that, if it must be done, it must be done well. I do not believe in anything where the final verdict has to be decided through voting. I guess that’s why most Ghanaian musicians have one or two problems with the annual Vodafone Ghana Music Awards.
That scheme is a popularity based awards decided by voting. At the end of the day, winners don’t really come out clean most times because the general public votes for people they like, not necessarily who deserves to actually win because they deserves it.
Most people will also argue that, few people determining who wins awards also bring about favouritism. Even with that, the probability that deserving nominees winning the award is on the high than when it is decided via voting.
What I’m saying is that, the Ghana Music Honours is a good thing and it should be done and organised well. It is the only awards show organised by musicians for musicians in the country. MUSIGA must put in more effort to make it transparent.
I will end by saying that, opportunities should be given to all the genres of music we have in Ghana during the GH-All Star Live Concert. It shouldn’t be strictly for dancehall, hiphop and hiplife artistes.
Also, I think MUSIGA must gradually use the festival to discourage miming as most of the artistes mimed on stage last Saturday. Why miming is not a crime in Ghana is beyond my understanding.