Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Hamptons Jazz Festival promoters learn a lesson … promise to treat media nicely

Following a tempestuous relationship that saw the local media giving the Hamptons Jazz Festival a total blackout, the promoters have learnt from their mistake of taking the media for granted.

This was the promoters’ second attempt to appease the media after the first one (prior to the 2016 event) failed dismally.

Speaking at the reunion hosted by themselves at Bojanala Water Front on Tuesday, Hamptons Promoters’ Debbie Smith and Starr Ngwenya unconditionally apologised for their conduct that led to the blackout. 

In a spat that led to the lengthy suspension of coverage for Hamptons Promoters activities, Smith had accused reporters of helping themselves to VIP meals and refreshments at the expense of “paying” clients at a previous event. 

As if in a dress rehearsal for what is to be expected in the future, the promoters hosted showbiz reporters to an exclusive VIP lunch and refreshments at the scenic Bojanala. 

“This experience has taught us that you (the media) are our most valued partners and we promise to do right by you from now on,” Smith said when addressing reporters. “We will make sure to give you the best possible service at our future events.” 

“The reason for taking more time to prepare for the next event is to prep our logistics bearing in mind how the whole city went into a standstill in 2016,” she said.

“We don’t want mosuke (overcrowding) as we know that Hamptons attracts multitudes of people from both regionally and internationally.” 

The promoters were accused of being more concerned about ticket sales at the expense of observing the maximum capacity of the venue.

Smith said they had also formed a partnership with international news network CNN to give the event an even bigger platform.

With a year to the next Hamptons Jazz Festival, Smith said they were not ready to announce the line-up of performers as they were still negotiating with potential artists. She, however, shed light on who may be under their radar. 

“Though we won’t confirm artists at the moment , we are pleased to say we have got quotations accepted by some international artists who are American but originally from UK and vice versa,” Smith said, adding “our wish list over the years has included Billy Ocean , Lionel Richie, Incognito, Sade, UB40, and Jill Scott. This is just a wish list,” she clarified. 

The promoters had engaged upcoming local artist Thato Jessica to perform for the media at Bojanala on Tuesday. 

“We also spoke about Jessica who is an upcoming vocalist and is trying to align most of our local artists with international icons. We intend to have more local artists playing live than back tracks hence we will sponsor a band for Thato at next year’s event.”

Smith also cited Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe as having endorsed Hamptons Jazz Festival saying he was also a key player for the 2016 event. 

“We feel humbled to have him on board and both of us contributing to promoting tourism and job creation in the city.”

The Hamptons Promoters also echoed local promoters’ constant dissatisfaction at the lack of sponsorship from the government and corporate sector. “We don’t have many sponsors but as we all know it’s not just Hamptons without sponsors but most events too,” Smith said. 

“We are praying that with a strong advertising platform of both local and international journalists, more sponsors will come on board.”

She said they planned to make the festival a two-day event and as such they may have to consider a more open venue for camping purposes. 

“We have a lot of people travelling from as far as the UK, Zimbabwe, and SA.”

Kast, who just walked 1 000km for his own #TlatsaLebala music festival slated for May 6, was also present at the media event. 

The Hamptons Promoters donated P10 000 for his first (cancelled) attempt last year. Fellow renowned local promoters Zenzele Hirschfeld and Shima Monageng were also present.

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