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Council consults promoters, artistes.

Some music promoters, event organisers and artistes have welcomed North West District Council proposal on guidelines for staging events within the district.

They gave the green light to the proposal during a stakeholder consultative meeting, noting that it was a welcome development in the right direction. They, however, wished the council could re-visit some of the guidelines in the proposal with a view to consider their suggestions.

The council engaged stakeholders to discuss the proposal and solicit ideas before they could be developed into a policy.

Once the policy is in place, it would compel event promoters/organisers to come up with an event safety plan to provide a safe environment for visitors/customers, prevent the disruption of the event/services and protect property against damage or loss.

However, participants appreciated that the district was very vibrant in terms of entertainment and believed that if the policy could be formulated, it would guide them to manage the events well.

They also requested a waiver on trading hours, arguing that most people go to festivals after closure at drinking outlets and proposed that trading hours be 6pm to 6am to cater for them.

They also proposed that stringent action be taken against promoters/organisers who use big artistes to advertise their festivals and never feature in their line up during the actual event.

One of the event organisers, Solly Reikeletseng noted that the proposal was progressive as every policy should emphasise on issues of safety and environmental issues.

He stressed that event management plan was necessary nowadays, but stated that some had no capacity to do it because it was expensive and suggested that the council design a form with all standards and requirements so that they could fill up, adding that would become cost effective.

He also suggested that the council considered one stop-shop where they could access all services required without hassle. Reikeletseng also requested that the fee be structured as per event.

Renowned artiste, Baitshepi Mwachisenge known as Chris Manto 7 in the music circles concurred with him, noting that the proposal was intact and would help the music industry to grow.

He said it would also help them to do the right things and eventually improve the lives of the communities.

He called for smooth implementation and cooperation between the bye-law implementers and the industry, noting that at times, some officers acted out of anger hence the conflicts.

When presenting the proposal, chief bye-law officer, Phemelo Matome revealed that they came up with the guidelines because they experienced some challenges during festivals. He said they believed that the guidelines would improve their working relationship, adding that they would be implemented in line with other Acts in place.

Matome stated that recent festivals gave them headache as organisers used unskilled security personnel who ended up causing havoc at entrances resulting in disrupting events.

He pointed out that the council acknowledged that festivals played a strong role in building community harmony and attracted visitors and contributed to building a robust local economy that forged connections with businesses and built capacity for local organisers.

Festivals, he said promoted an identity for the district that created local pride and develop appreciation and celebration of diverse cultures.

Some of the requirements to stage an event are to ensure local empowerment, produce event communication plan, environmental protection plan, community participation plan, emergency plan, layout of event, transport management plan, health requirements and completed application forms for liquor licence and noise exemption.

Matome also observed that going forward, they intended to have a calendar of events, noting that they had realised that there were many events held in a month resulting in less benefits.

The council proposed to reduce number of large and medium events per month.

He also emphasised the need to promote local empowerment, noting that promoters should hire equipment locally and not to bring their own from various places.
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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Feb 15, 2018
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