• Allegations of corruption threaten music festival’s profitability
  • Promoters body moves swiftly to intervene 
  • A stakeholder forum and creative industry summit in the pipeline


After the Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) received reports of corruption in organising music festivals last year, the organisation has resolved to host a conference and a summit with relevant stakeholders to stem the tide of the scam that threatens growth of the music industry.

Scheduled for 25 January, the BEPA media and stakeholder summit will adopt resolutions for tackling corruption and other challenges around the industry that have rendered festivals unprofitable.

“Promoters have reported that music festivals are now unprofitable because of some fraudulent practices that have been reported even to the police,” the president of BEPA, Gilbert ‘PP’ Seagile, told Time Out in an interview this week.


Burning issues and losses
“We used the festive season to observe performance of the events industry. The feedback is not so bad but we are moving forward to solve some of the burning issues that persist.”
In the past promoters have pointed to fraudulent practices that hamper their businesses from at least breaking even. There have been allegations of theft of gate-takings and sale of fake tickets to prominent events that are usually filled to capacity, resulting in organisers sustaining losses.

Seagile said the imminent gig conference will also address bouncers as one of the issues threatening the industry. “Security services are usually not favourable to promoters, hence and they resort to using bouncers,” he asserted.

“Security companies have a code of conduct and can be sued in cases of foul play. It’s a different story with bouncers because it is difficult to hold individuals accountable.”

Bouncers’ association
Seagile said a proposed BEPA resolution is to have bouncers forming an association that will set out their code of conduct and enable them to have security licences. An added advantage of this would be eliminating use of fly-by-night bouncers because permits for events would be linked to not engaging unlicensed bouncers.

“This is one way we can continue working together with bouncers,” Seagile emphasised. “We are working on more resolutions to share at the summit. Other issues that will be raised are of restaurants having club licences, which is killing the club scene.”


Creative Industry summit
The conference will be a caucus leading to the Creative Industry Summit that is in the pipeline. The summit will bring together relevant stakeholders for an input in drafting an Entertainment Act as a BEPA agenda item for this year.

“One of the reasons our industry doesn’t grow is use of the Liquor Act in the absence of a specific Entertainment Act,” said Seagile. “We look forward to the Arts Council being fully operational.”