Time to invest in event venues

DomeAny business stands a chance of raking in huge profits if it is well invested into. Venues for events are in high demand now in the country due to the proliferation of events of late. This is one area which is in dire need of investors and business minded professionals’ attention. It is a venture that promises considerable gain.

Ghana’s biggest live showbiz event, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, is currently in difficulty following the shut-down of the spacious Dome for renovations. Last week the organisers announced that the date for the event had been pushed forward and it is expected to come off at the rather restrictive main auditorium of the  Accra International Conference Centre.

The announcement put brakes on weeks of speculation about where this year’s awards would take place. Should the prestigious awards  be allowed to go through  all this because of the absence of an appropriate venue?

I do not understand why things are allowed to get to its worst stage before something is done about it in this country. Last week inside the Trade Fair Centre I witnessed the launch of another event venue, Events Haven by Jandel Limited. This venue seats close to 2,000 patrons and has already hosted a number of high value events.

Ghana needs more of such venues to help ease pressure on the existing venues like the National Theatre and State Banquet Hall.

While on the subject, I dare ask why the organisers of VGMA seem to have been caught unawares. The organisers must have been fully aware of the Dome closure months even before call was made for musicians and record labels to submit their works for consideration into this year’s awards. Why didn’t they make arrangements for another venue before going through the entire process of the awards and at the last minute run helter-skelter for a new venue?

Perhaps the organisers need not to be blamed so much since they do not control the Dome. These days that no big event in Ghana pays for itself except with sponsorship, every organiser would like to have a big venue to help recoup some of the costs.

The Dome situated at the Conference Centre has become the destination of choice  to several event organisers in the country due to lack of spacious venues for events. The irony is that, the structure was not built for the purpose that it’s being used for now. Instead it was temporarily built for an UNCTAD conference in 2008.

Even though it was not originally built for such events, it has become a more preferred venue because of how spacious it is and its seating capacity. Over the past few years, it has hosted notable concerts featuring international artistes like Rick Ross, Bow Wow, Keri Hilson, Mario, T Pain, Fabulous among others.

As may be expected, the use of the Dome venue does not come cheap at all. I learnt that to hire the structure for a day/night, one needs a whopping $12,000 to $15,000. The event organiser must pay separate money to VRA to power the venue with lights, if not they are expected to bring their own plant to power the place at extra cost.

Again separate money has to be paid to Zoomlion to keep the place clean before, during and after the event. If there are no sponsors, money for publicity, security, paying the artistes and the press are your own headache. The shocker is that if one needs extra days for, let’s say rehearsals for like two or more days, you are expected to pay for each single day.

For whatever reasons, I know that investors do not believe in the entertainment industry in Ghana but it’s an industry that can rake lots of dividend if due diligence is done. I appeal to them and all business minded professionals to think of investing in venues for events.

It’s the hope of some of us that, the newly created Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts will lead the crusade for new venues for the country.

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