It is fantastic that we have recently enjoyed three fantastic international acts in our city plus UB40 coming in November. There’s no denying that they love our crowds. Even Per after Roxette’s show in February went onto Facebook to comment saying:
“Wow! Outdoors! A standing crowd, no chairs in sight! And soooooo many people (10.000? I don’t know…)! We haven’t played P.E. for 21 years and get a reception like this! What can we say? WOW! Super enthusiastic crowd and a band in fine form made this something very special to remember! Thanx everyone for showing up and making us feel like the biggest band in the world! Once again! Love!”
So why don’t we have more international artists coming to Port Elizbabeth? It’s a question I’m often asked, and the answer isn’t entirely straightforward.
There are huge economic benefits to the city when you think of the full industry cycle of involvement : accommodation, support services, venue hire, logistics etc. and then there is the out of towners who stay over in our hotels and BBs. For us all to benefit, the question is how to get the artists here in the first place.
It has to be financially viable for the promoter bringing the artists to the city – it always comes down to money at the end of the day. And to be profitable, you need to fill the seats to a maximum capacity. For example, Mariah Carey may never come to our city as our venues don’t have the capacity they’d need to cover costs to bring the her here, let alone the logistics and services which surround one show.
We don’t have a venue with the capacity for more than 5,000 to 8,000 people which is the number of tickets to make it viable for a lot of indoor concerts. Outdoor events costs are higher as there is security, technical, logistics etc. and our stadium hosts 46,000 – not quite enough for many of the big names – plus, seldom is it a full house. And that’s what it comes to at the end of the day, the promoter is a business and is there to make money.
Then there’s demand. Port Elizabethan’s are notorious for booking at the last minute, or sometimes not supporting the events that happen in our metro. Be it because they cannot afford the ticket price, or they wait to see what the weather is doing or have no interest in that particular artist.
International artists bring a great boost to our local economy, but not only do we need the right venues to hold enough people, but more of our community need to support the artists when they come here. So it’s not for want to trying to get the big names here, it’s a case of getting the infrastructure and the appetite to do it.
The more success we have in Port Elizabeth, the more word spreads amongst the artists, the more acts we should be able to secure.
Glenn van Eck
The following two tabs change content below.