Why Jacaranda Festival rocked

Takudzwa Chihambakwe
It is the desire of every music promoter to get it right the first time they step out to host an event – after all they say “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.

Well, last week Walter Wanyanya of Ngoma NeHosho was left feeling like a king as he hosted the first edition of the Jacaranda Music Festival in the capital. Without a single poster but armed with a thoroughly planned social media marketing strategy, buttressed by word-of-mouth publicity, Jacaranda Music Festival made a good first impression.

The event attracted a crowd of over 2000 people at Hellenic Sports Club, who were treated to quality music from the 10 acts on the line-up.

Below is how Ngoma NeHosho did it…

Choice of acts

Many promoters struggle to come up with an interesting composition of acts to lure fans. Having an international act on the line-up does not necessarily mean that the gig will be a success with regards to turnout. Ngoma NeHosho simply ensured that while legends Yvone Chaka Chaka and Dr Oliver Mtukudzi added that tag of maturity – Mbeu, Masa and Norman Masamba added zing to the show and globetrotters Mokoomba and Mi Casa gave the much needed pizzazz that would make your inquisitive folks go to the festival.

Continuous learning

While the Jacaranda Music Festival was making its debut – this was not the first time that Ngoma NeHosho attempted to host a high-profile gig. Having come onto the scene back in 2015, it was not all rosy. Their shows in 2015 and 2016 attracted paltry crowds at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale.

In 2016, their gig featuring African music icon, Hugh Masekela was a flop. Later that year, they then struck gold as they held a sold out gig in the same venue and adjusted their pricing to suit their clientele and it was a full house. In 2017, they recorded another successful gig featuring Grammy award-winning act, Joss Stone. It was the Joss Stone concert that gave Ngoma NeHosho the confidence to exclusively use social media marketing. These ups and downs gave Ngoma NeHosho enough data to know its clientele and deliver what it requires.

Time keeping

Besides the Harare International Festival of the Arts, there are very few promoters who can consistently host gigs that start and end on time. Ngoma NeHosho has been good at this.

Days before the festival, the full programme was out and come the day, it was religiously followed. Not the monkey business witnessed at other shows where only God and the promoter know when an act will be jumping on stage. They make revellers wait till 2am while being bombarded with old school reggae hits by mundane DJs as though there is no new stuff from Jamaica.

Consistency

From inception, Ngoma NeHosho has always been about quality music. Only acts who can play heavy stuff step onto the Ngoma NeHosho stage. It has never been a platform that goes for trending bubble-gum music acts and this is what makes it standout. Other promoters forget what their objective is and try to short-circuit their way to success by bringing onto their line-up trending acts in the name of “they pull the crowds”. True they do, but it also causes the patrons to shun such events as can find a dancehall act at a jazz festival.

Quality Setting

After attending some shows it feels like one was in a dingy joint in the middle of nowhere as the shows are poorly organised. Besides being time conscious, Ngoma NeHosho ensures that the sound is top-notch, with few usually minor glitches. The cool lighting also enables the techno-frenzy people to take good pictures to gloat about to their friends. Other promoters use lighting that makes it appear as if fans are not supposed to see acts performing on stage. The ambiance at Hellenic Sports Club was family-friendly – babies and grannies were in one place, something one rarely finds at musical shows.