Festive Gigs Characterised by Low Turnout and Losses

  • Seasoned entertainer says staging an events in Botswana is costly
  • Emphasises need for promoters to regulate international acts


Entertainment events of the festive season just past were characterised by a low turnout of patrons compared to the year before, resulting in financial losses for promoters.

Speaking in an interview with Time Out, the president of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), Gilbert “PP” Seagile, attributed this to several factors, including a post-COVID-19 decline in interest among patrons and the perceived high cost of tickets.

“Compared to neighbouring South Africa, event prices here are indeed high because promoters here aim to deliver international standards,” he said.

Between P800K and P2m

Seagile, who attended all major shows, noted that nature in staging events in Botswana is expensive because of expensive venues, logistics, and transport costs, especially when events are outside Gaborone where service providers are located.

The estimated cost of staging a decent event ranges from P800,000 to P2 million while lack of sponsorship added to the financial challenges, leaving promoters in debt.

Seagile highlighted that there was a need for all key industry players to acquire knowledge about the cost of events so that the right amount is invested in order to break even.

MYSC, Btv and NAC 

He acknowledged the support of sponsors such the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture (MYSC), Btv and the National Arts Council of Botswana but urged stakeholders across sectors to take part because they benefit from countrywide events.

“People need to do away with the belief that the creative industry is the responsibility of MYSC and Btv because many businesses benefit from the value chain,” Seagile pointed out.

According to the seasoned entertainer, the challenges faced provide some lessons that can be put to good use. These include the need to regulate payment, hospitality riders, and the number of international acts participating in events.

Reputational damage

He suggested a 20 percent quotient of international acts and there should be regulations on the number of shows they can perform in a day to manage costs and prevent reputational damage due to no-shows.

“An international artist will charge transportation fees while they are in Botswana for another show, hence the need for promoters to work as a team to manage the costs,” he said.

“They take bookings for many shows in a day and fail to turn up at some shows in the end, thus soiling the reputation of event planners. This calls for regulating such issues, going forward.”