Just days to the four-day Afro Nation event, organisers were hit with series of legal suits. The suits hit hard at the eleventh hour after months of huge investments and preparations.
As if that was not enough, the concert had its fair share of competition as December 2019 was packed with events. Arguably the most event-packed month in the history of the country, these were no small events too.
There had been a huge influx of foreign nationals into Ghana as the country rounded up the hugely successful Year of Return activities. For those who still don’t know or are just returning from Jupiter, 2019 marked exactly 400 years since the first black slaves arrived in Virginia in the US.
These fun-hungry diasporans trooped to Ghana in search of an experience. And with equally party-loving locals, any well organised event was surely bound to pull in the numbers.
Afro Nation faced stiff competition from big events like Detty Rave and Afrochella. All were fighting for a fare share of the fun market.
Interestingly, organisers of all these major events organised in December walked home happy, probably with fat returns too. All events were packed to capacity.
As the legal suits chased Afro Nation’s dreams as it approached the horizon, Rick Ross’ arrival in Ghana and the subsequent show of tenacity by young talented Ghanaian rapper CJ Biggerman, who took a gamble and won, took social media by storm.
As Rick Ross and CJ Biggerman trended number one on Twitter, many had cast doom for Afro Nation and yes, if you had bought tickets or made plans to attend the event and the faith of the concert was hanging in a balance, you had the right to be worried.
In spite of the numerous challenges, Afro Nation prevailed!
Anyone who visited the venue on any of the four days will admit that it was the biggest concert they had seen in Ghana.
From the share space acquired for the concert, to the stage, light, sound and performances, one would admit that this concert was simply different. It was a world class event, carefully planned and executed to perfection.
For four nights, some of Africa’s biggest acts took turns to help write music history in Ghana. If you mattered most in music in Africa this year, the Afro Nation stage was your playground.
From Shatta Wale, Burna Boy, Stonebwoy, Wizkid, R2Bees, Davido, D’banj, Kuami Eugene, Olamide, to Teni. The list was endless. It was raining stars at the Laboma Beach from Friday, December 27 to Monday, December 30.
After such a mammoth event and the success it has chalked, one may ask, what are the key lessons for Ghana?
Well it’s simple; Adesegun Adeosun (SMADE), co-founder of Afro Nation, and his team have thought Ghanaians that anything is possible if you have the right investment and people to execute it.
The Nigerian businessman and his partners had a vision. A vision to pull off world class events aimed at putting African music on the map and the best way to do that is to do it on a grand scale no matter where the event is organised.
And with the investment, he set his vision in motion organising the first edition in Portugal in July, followed by Ghana. The concert now heads to Puerto Rico in March 2020.
Another lesson is, Ghana has the people! Afro Nation Ghana was managed and executed by Ruddy Kwakye and his team. If you know Ruddy very well, you would know by now that he stands for quality. He brought that quality to bear thus making the event a successful one.
In the face of the suits and drama, Ruddy remained focused. He simply did not quiver. And the results are clear for every one to see.
Music festivals the world over are big deals. With the right acts and organisation, music lovers will travel to any lengths to have a good time.
Afro Nation has proven that investment in big concerts with the right artistes will attract patrons – local and foreign.
These foreigners, just like tourists, spend and invest heavily in the economy of any country they visit. From hotels, to food, tourist sites, transportation and others – locals benefit so does the country.
Afro Nation has also taught Ghana that, just like what Mr Eazi did at Detty Rave, acquiring land and building a whole venue for his concert, creative persons can and must come up with innovative ways of entertaining and providing an experience for patrons.
Yes Ghana needs a lot of investments when it comes to entertainment venues but there are equally amazing ways to pull off great experiences without necessarily pegging one’s hopes on the National Theatre or the Accra International Conference Centre (which are most often not built for the events organised there).
Afro Nation has underscored the pivotal role the private sector/investors play in the growth and promotion of the creative sector. But the private sector can put in the needed funding if the government provides a conducive environment that guarantees returns on their investments.
Ghana is blessed with talents and creative entrepreneurs and the industry can only grow if the support(s)v given Afro Nation and other events are equally extended to locals who have big visions and passions for the entertainment industry.
Afro Nation has proven that Ghana, with the right investment and personnel, can host world class events.
Kudos to Afro Nation and all other events that made December 2019 a memorable one.
Congratulations to Akwasi Agyemang and his team for an amazing Year of Return!