The events industry is struggling to remain afloat as millions of rands in revenue and many jobs have been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Countless events have been canned since lockdown was enforced in March 2020.
It’s been nine months since a nationwide lockdown was imposed in South Africa.
In the Free State, events such as MACUFE, the Ficksburg Cherry Jazz festival and the METRO FM Heatwave had to be cancelled.
The move to level one, saw taverns, clubs and other entertainment areas being opened. A debilitating second wave has necessitated fresh closures and bans.
Impact of COVID-19 on live events:
Tebogo Kotsi runs a company, which organises music festivals, among others. He says he is feeling the effects of the lockdown on his company.
“We were the first people to be affected before even lockdown could be implemented; we were told actually told to stop events. At that point I had about four events planned going into June. So basically I had to can all those events. And there was one I had already planned for March, which I had already paid artists deposits and all that. So I could not reclaim my money back so basically, you can imagine what happened to my pocket. We have to sit for eight months without an income. Basically, I know how it feels to be unemployed.”
Kotsi says he has lost millions of rand in revenue due to cancelled events.
“Me personally, I know it’s about R1.6 million that was planned for one of the events that has gone down. That was income that I knew was guaranteed is going to come in. And you had monies from sponsors, partners and all that actually managed to invest in events. Now they can’t get their money back, so you can imagine in terms of South Africa on its own your looking at close to billions that is lost because of we got big corporates out there big companies that are doing major events in South Africa that could not do anything.”
COVID-19 lockdown impacted nearly half of SMEs in SA:
Extremely difficult period
The Free State Tourism and Economic Development Department has conceded that it has been an extremely difficult period.
“Mega events, signature events play a very critical role in the visitation economy throughout the entire tourism value chain because people descend on these areas to attend these events and they have to book accommodation, to visit other entertainment places, they have to go to restaurants and fill up their cars. Unfortunately, this time around because of the regulations, some these activities could not take place meaning that many livelihoods have been affected and people who normally benefits from these events were unable to do so,” says Spokesperson Kgotso Tau.
In most instances festival organisers had already paid a deposit to artists and service providers and they cannot be refunded because those who had received the money also used it to survive.