- Festivals divided into 3 categories
- No alcohol, cooler boxes, glass and cans allowed into event venues
- Metal detectors, sniffer dogs to be introduced
- Failure to comply leads to banning of event coordinators
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, says the cabinet has put in place strict security measures to ensure the safety of members of the public at music festivals. Olopeng was telling promoters and artists at a consultative meeting in Gaborone end of last week where he also mentioned that with beefed-up security, they are trying to have smooth-running events as well as saving the entertainment industry which has the potential to diversify the economy.
“We highly condemn what transpired at that festival (GIMC) and we have come up with measures going forward to ensure the security of people when they are at music festivals. We need to standardize everything together to see how we can revitalize this industry,” he said.
With regards to security, Olopeng says they have divided festivals into three categories, being the day fest, which will take place from 10am until 8pm, the evening festival which will take place from 2pm until 10pm and the night festival which will take place from 6pm until 6am. “Implementation of security will differ with the estimated crowds. For example, zero to 1000 people is expected to have 50 security personnel, up to 5000 people the number of security doubles to 100 and 15 000 people will need a minimum of 500 security personnel on the ground,” he said adding that promoters will have to give an estimated number of tickets to be sold for the benefit of organizing security.
The minister went on to say there will be an introduction of metal detectors to get rid of sharp objects; no tickets will be sold in stadia to avoid congestion and there will be no cans, alcohol, glasses, backpacks cooler boxes and “visibly drunk” revelers will not be allowed into the performance venues. “Promoters should take responsibility and ensure safety and those who ignore these standards will be banned from ever hosing an event. That is how serious we are when it comes to protecting human rights. I would also like to highlight the importance of engaging legitimate security companies that have skilled people and capable of handling the crowds,” he opined.
Olopeng explained that security is currently the number one factor revelers need assurance on before attending any local festivals. “We need to find a way to build back the confidence of our followers. There is land in Kgatleng which needs to be developed into a performance arena. This arena will relieve the stadia from many activities as well as addressing the issue of noise pollution.” For their part promoters and artists commended the minister’s efforts and added that even though the new developments place the burden of costs on them, it was a step in the right direction to save the industry.
Previously, Olopeng announced that cabinet had agreed to allow festivals booked for this year to continue as scheduled after government’s threat to block usage of stadiums and public places for entertainment following the tragedy at the National Stadium in Gaborone in which a young reveler died at the Gaborone International Music Festival (GIMC).