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Dem No Rate Us: The Infamous Trend Of Nigerian Artistes Approach To Concerts.

Nigerians are famed for being fun-loving people, even when nothing seems to be working in the country, the people will still delight themselves by partaking in concerts, festivals and even privately held parties, and who can blame them, it is a much needed coping mechanism from the hassles of simply breathing as a Nigerian. Concerts are a big thing worldwide and in Nigeria, it’s pretty much the same thing; an income generating scheme fueled by hedonistic quests.

According to a study conducted by the British High Commission, revenues generated from music festivals and concerts account for approximately 15 percent of the Nigerian economy. Brands, show promoters, and event planners often come together to put up a show in rickety hopes of make a killing from it and also to assuage those who have paid hard earned money to be entertained.

For a country with a rich music heritage and reputation, only a few things beats seeing its finest music artistes perform live on stage, this is why fans wouldn’t mind paying through their noses just to watch their favorite musicians perform. As aforementioned, these are trying times, the economy is an eye sour and every year, ticket costs for these shows rise but do the people care? not so much, turn down for what!, right?

With all of this, it’s always disappointing and appalling whenever artistes become lackadaisical with the whole thing by failing to turn up for shows in which they have already been booked to perform. The saddest part is that this often happens in the Motherland, a place where they were first given a stage before they could ever mount the global counterparts.

Popular singer, Kizz Daniel had an epic campaign in 2022. The Nigerian superstar dazzled music listeners with hits back to back, and naturally, fans all over the world craved to have the superstar on stage. Now, ‘Vado’ might be a serial hit-maker, his superstar status does not however prevent him from being reticent. The singer clashed with show promoters a couple of times, due to breach of agreement by turning up late for shows. An occurrence happened in the USA, he also got arrested in Tanzania after reportedly being paid $60,000 for an event.

The promoter revealed that he (Kizz daniel) and his team refused to perform because their airline omitted a luggage which had a bag containing a Gold chain. The singer insisted he must wear the jewelry while performing or no show. Popular singer, Wizkid in December was also accused of breaching contractual agreements after failing to show up at his “Wizkid Live” concert in Ghana which was set to hold at a 40,000 capacity stadium in Accra. Wizkid failed to show up and didn’t give any reason till hours later citing safety and production issues.

Asake, unarguably the biggest Nigerian artiste in 2022 was scheduled to perform at a sold out show In Birmingham, United Kingdom. The crooner arrived hours late and was met with boos and jeers from the audience. The singer responded by posting a picture of himself on social media smiling while displaying 100 dollar notes followed by a screen shot of Ebenezer Obey’s famous song ‘The Horse, The Man, and The Son’ a song that basically explains that you can’t please the world . After the backlash, he ended up releasing a statement citing a delayed pickup by show promoters

The biggest awe came in January 2023 in form of Burna boy’s ‘Lagos Loves Damini’ concert. Based on the events that occurred that day, one can’t be sure Lagos still feels the same way towards the African Giant. A concert scheduled to start at 9pm started at 4am. Not only did he refuse to apologize or show any remote sign of remorse, he insulted and even assaulted fans who were waiting in the blistering cold for him. “Just to show you say I still love una. If not for Seyi Vibez, I for don dey go house,” he unapologetically said.

If you’ve followed through, you’ll notice the repetitive pattern in which the artistes absolves themselves of any blame, shifting it to show promoters, bad weather, and in-house policies. With all of this brewing, I sought the revered opinion of Moyo Onipede, a multi-talented show promoter and production co-ordinator to help dissect this infamous trend and subsequently provide solutions.

What’s your verdict on the trend of artistes late show up or no show to concerts/event?

I think this boils down to talent seeing performances as just important as promotions and marketing , an obligation they fulfil to their audience. It’s unfair that certain artists don’t take these things serious. Artistes need to want to perform as much as the audience want to see them, as much as the show promoters want to have a great show.

Everyone seems to be pointing fingers, some blame the artistes, and others blame the event/show promoters for poor planning, who really takes the fall?

Honestly, it could be shared, but here’s what I know. From an angle of an event personnel, no one is going to set up an event in hopes that it flops. Huge amounts of money goes into setting up an event. Yeah, there are unforeseen contingencies but that is the reason Some teams set up as early as a week for big events, while on smaller events, you can set up a day before. Personally, I have never set up on the day of the event, I set up a day before, because these things are quite dicey, it is manpower, people can be slow.

One thing I will do though is shift the blame from the show promoters and event personnel.

We see artistes release statements after events blaming sound or production as the reason for showing up late. Is there any law that forbids them coming out physically to explain the situation to fans if indeed that’s the problem?

If you’re setting up a show with a major artiste as an headliner, or solo performer, there’s no way you wouldn’t call for sound check. It’s always hammered on. Even if the team has the best sound setup, soundcheck is always insisted on. No matter the event. Even if the artiste is not around, the band or someone from their team should be around. Whether it is a live performance or a DJ playback.

I see certain statements like “the sound wasn’t good” and it is very baffling. I don’t know who will set up a show for someone as big as Burna Boy and set themselves up like that. I’ve worked on an event where they had set up for the week and due to wear and tear, some parts of the stage had some issues that weren’t noticed until close to the event date.

That’s why artistes need to be around. Not just to check sound, but to be familiar with stage management, walk-ins, dance routine and activation points with the crowd. It goes beyond just getting the crowd turnt. All these tiny details go into a successful performance.

On the long run, do you feel ticket sales for concerts will be grossly affected if this trend persists?

In Nigeria, from what I’ve noticed, asides seeing the artistes, Nigerians are there for the cruise. It seems like seeing the artiste is like a side attraction now. I think there’s also the benefit of the doubt thing that it won’t happen again but I think there’s only so much you can push people to do. They can flat out cancel you.

For show promoters, it’s a bad streak. So I can’t give a definite answer. It depends on the lineup too and headliner. Fans will probably highlight the terrible people. Also, the purchasing power of such artiste will reduce. There was a time where people weren’t actively booking Kizz Daniel because they were not ready to have him flop for their show. You’ll sign paperwork but sometimes you will have to consider if it is worth all the stress.

How can this situation be remedied or handled? Because very soon, Nigerians will stop attending shows.

How about we spotlight young performers, the emerging ones? They need the spotlight. It can go two ways, give them a solid platform as opposed to having the odd one minute to perform and all. It’s an opportunity to pitch your music to an open crowd. Asides that there can be a lineup of events around D-list artists.

Then there is outright cancellation of artistes who will come late. Don’t book them . In my opinion, nothing definitive can be done, it’s just having a change of heart because I don’t see why we have to work around people’s behavior. Hence the need to set up stuff for younger emerging artists. So the bigger ones get to understand a thing or two.

It’s a new year and while we aim for changes in a lot of areas, we are particularly hoping for a change regarding this situation of artistes coming late for shows and concerts.

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