Wednesday April 17 2013

What it means to: organise one’s own concert…

Yoyo’s concerts were not very successful

Yoyo’s concerts were not very successful because he had to move around to book venues, advert space and deal with all the other service providers single-handedly. Photo EDGAR R. Batte 

By Edgar R. Batte

I am Yoyo, a musician. The decision to organise my concert on my own, without a major sponsor or promoter, came after all the major sponsors I talked to kept running around in circles.
This was my maiden concert and I can tell you it is an experience that came with a whole lot of stress because it involves hard work, commitment and long stressful hours.

If I had not been strong enough, I am certain I would have broken down mid-way the journey. May be I would have given up on this career altogether. I was alone and because I have no manager, I ended up doing pretty much everything, from marketing the concert, to getting the right person to provide the sound, to getting the generator in case there was not enough power or in case of a power cut.

There are three dimensions to putting up this show. There was production which I had to give uninterrupted time in order to produce and provide something good at the end of it all.
While at it all, I had to think about the budget that was to run the concert and where I would get the money.

The resources that enabled me put up this concert was a year’s savings, and I began making up my mind to do it in October last year. So many things revolved around the budget. I looked for sponsors and when they seemed unwilling, I had to dip into my savings.
So, I tried to minimise costs as much as I could. When I drew my budget, it came up to Shs16m but I cut the cost. I injected Shs13m. At the end of it all, I only got back Shs6m. I still have debts amounting to about Shs5m.

My cost break-down was paying for venues at Shs5m for Club Obligato, Shs1m for Satellite Beach in Mukono and Shs1.5m for Hotel Explorer. Then I spent Shs8m on publicity, radio and television. Clearances from authorities took about Shs2m and then miscellaneous Shs1m.

I would say I made a loss but did not lose entirely because of all the people that turned up to see Yoyo.
That was comforting because it proved I had fans, though the monetary outcome was not equivalent to what I invested in the show. I paid various media houses to run my adverts and for mentions. I paid a certain newspaper Shs2m and it published a negative review. They had reporters at Obligatto where I had people and instead published pictures of empty chairs in Mukono. I think that is biased reporting.

Anyhow, I would sleep for only four hours because I had to make television and radio shows appearances to promote my concerts. I had to pay deposits on items like venues to secure them, then the generators to be sure they were available for us to use on that day.
I promised to pay most ofthe service providers after the show and I am indebted to them. You see my Toyota, it was my conveyor to all these places and many times it would break down because it is an old car.

So many things were splitting me into pieces and that is how I failed to create the good hype. I had to run between rehearsals with the band.

Imagine almost failing to get time to run your own personal errands because you have to see this one, run here and there, do this and do that in order to have the show ready.
The panic button sets in when time runs out and the pledges or sponsorship money is not coming. It is like organising a wedding. Everything seems so far from reach yet it seemed so near afew days back.

Never the less, I had an obligation to put up a magnificent show whether the money was there or not. It was only terrible that I had no manager to work with. Imagine having to be at a radio interview, do television interviews, print media interviews and having to check out machines at the same time. The fuel many times ran out.
Unfotunately, the turn up at the shows was not as I had anticipated. Like any performer, I wanted to sell out. I anticipated 1,000 people at Club Obligatto but got 450 people.
The concert was a great challenge but I think one worth taking.

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