For the past year and months the pandemic had long halted the industry of live events. But Makhadzi’s show at Molapo Piazza last Friday managed to revive the nightlife ecosystem and generated rich social, cultural and economic benefits.
For some people the economic benefits of festivals are not the easiest to distinguish despite the fact that it attracts patrons who stimulate the growth of tourism and other businesses. That weekend only Makhadzi’s festival attracted visitors from as far as Maun and Kasane and these people spent money, which boosted the local economy both on and off the festival site. On-site spending included ticket fees, parking fees, food, and beverage and souvenir sales just to mention but a few.
No one can say for sure how much revellers spent on average at the festival site but off-site spending related to the Makhadzi festival also generated revenue for communities too. For example, people who were driving around the city that night and others who were arriving from distant places stopped at local fuel stations, souvenir shops, liquor stores and restaurants, the list goes on.
These overnight visitors from villages across Botswana has been longing for live entertainment for more than a year and their presence provided a source of off-site revenue to a city like Gaborone as well.
They did spend a lot of money on lodging, food and beverages during the time they attended the festival. There were live streams all over social media and therefore people who were not there got the chance to experience the festival virtually. In the end these live streams on social media provided free marketing and advertising for local businesses as guests talked about their fun experiences. Speaking of advertising and marketing, Botswana makeup artist Bobo who did a wonderful makeup job for Makhadzi and what came afterwards was rewarding.
She received a lot following after Batswana and the international community saw her splendid work. As a local brand Beauty by Bobo will go on to benefit and receive more clients than before. Also, just on that night Makhadzi was one of the most popular topics on social media so people posted comments and photos about their experiences.
The festival was where the bonds were forged and where connections were made. While some people doubt whether the creative industry can deliver significant economic and employment paybacks, The People’s Festival encouraged and strengthened a city’s brand. Speaking of a city brand, the deputy mayor of Gaborone was there when Makhadzi arrived at SSKI airport.
There is also artistic growth, big local artists like Vee Mampeezy who were not on the lineup jumped in to perform their collaboration songs with Makhadzi because of the benefits it will mean for them in the long run. Also some upcoming artists volunteered to be on the lineup just to share the stage with the artist. Before the festival fliers and posters of ‘The People’s Festival’ were all over social media, buildings, souvenirs and promotional materials. There were features on local newspapers, radio stations and for the first time in a long time the public were able to connect with the live music scene.
A vibrant entertainment sector creates a great factor and makes people want to live and work in it, giving it an edge in attracting and retaining talent in all fields, businesses and investment. A strong creative industry also attracts highly skilled young workers and this in turn attracts business investment. Concert organizers also have to pay tax to the Government of Botswana. The festival’s recognition also positively affected the value of lodges and hotels located near Molapo Piazza that night. Also big artists like Makhadzi post about Botswana on their social media pages, and told everyone about the country’s culture. This, without a doubt, is very beneficial for tourism.
Moreover, Molapo Piazza was almost at full capacity and looking at the crowd that night Gilbert Promotions sold more than 4000 tickets and the standard ticket was sold at P200. The VIP was packed the ticket cost P600 and now one can imagine how much money was made that night, possibly millions of Pula. After the event, most of the people continued to celebrate and spread around to the nightclubs and lounges restaurants. These are indirect benefits for the economy and for the companies that operate restaurants, clubs, stores, public transport and fuel stations.
A big concert like that was a like massive factory and after such a lot time without money it helped to revive a lot of services that benefit from it like lighting, sound and staging engineers, riggers and bartenders. Other sectors that benefited include security, electricians, production teams, publicists and marketing departments, and poster designers and so on. All these people worked to organize one event.
After the success of last Friday night, now Seagile is planning another festival headlined by Makhadzi on December 22, 2021 in Maun. Maun is a tourism place and one can only imagine the people the festival will attract this time during the festive season holidays.