CHALLENGES FACING TOWNSHIPS FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVALS

 

Through the years we’ve seen a change in the South African events and entertainment scene with more black players coming to the prominent fore. The introduction of food into the market previously dominated by alcohol has increased audience’s interest where everyone is sufficiently accommodated. They’ve become family friendly events with people of all ages able to attend. They feature a blend of our diversity under one roof.

The music includes musicians of different genres entertaining the crowd. It’s also a platform for upcoming talent that wouldn’t easily get access to such crowds on their own. These events were previously concentrated in more affluent areas but they’ve now expanded into townships and they’ve been well-received where people seem to have waited long for this to happen.

Besides their entertainment value, these events bring business opportunities and also contribute to social cohesion. They make people travel to places they wouldn’t ordinarily go and engage with people they don’t get to meet daily. They allow small businesses access to consumers they are unable to reach on their own. With all these values, you would expect funding interest from various corporate clients, but there’s an imbalance of funding between township events and those affiliated with big players in urban areas.

DSTV Delicious has developed into a massive marketing vehicle for brands. Each year advertisers compete for a spot to be part of the event but that advertising appetite is yet to spread across similar other events hosted in the township such as Cookout Sunday, Sharpeville Food Festival, and the Soweto Kota Festival. Most township events are self-funded with limited resources and sponsors, even with high attendance that can bring marketing value to any brand.

Cookout Sunday is a monthly event in Elkash Cricket Stadium and it attracts 8000 people. Sharpeville Food Festival started in 2017 with an attendance of 6000 people. Soweto Kota Fest attracts 7500 people over a weekend period. In its 13th year of existence, Soweto Wine Festival has grown to become Africa’s premium wine, food, music, and lifestyle event with over 8500 attendees and the
numbers growing steadily.

Braamfischer Beer Festival fuses music, food and art. These events bring the best out of our country in terms social cohesion and cultural diversity, and they should be encouraged and supported through sufficient funding. They provide business exposure to people who need it the most and also trigger other township business opportunities. They help expand our economy and it should
be easy for potential sponsors to see value in them.

Besides directly seeking funding from corporate companies, the owners of these events should also reach out to media houses. When media strategies are developed, ensure your event is also top of mind as you are no different to someone who owns a billboard site. Develop rate cards of advertising opportunity you can offer advertisers. Have a clear outline of your audience
profile.

These events provide an ideal platform for brands to directly engage with consumers and get to understand them better. Have a clear value proposition that will give sponsors confidence of the value they will extract from their
involvement.

We can’t allow these events to die due to lack of funding and we all have a mandate to contribute to their success. We should address the funding bias and negative stereotypes that may be associated with township events. Their
sustainability is key to township economy.