Windhoek residents should not be surprised if Namibia’s glittering music event for next year, the Namibia Music Awards (NAMAs), is again hosted in a different town other than Windhoek. This is because venues in Windhoek are becoming too expensive. Even the Ramatex building, where the NAMAs were first held in 2012 and again this year, has become expensive to rent. This is much to the chagrin of the main sponsor of NAMAs, MTC, who spent more than N$500 000 to fix the place for the 2012 event.
The awards organising committee hints that they want the City of Windhoek – which owns Ramatex – to contribute to the costs of hosting the event, by availing the venue for free. And the NAMAs organisers are also not happy that the City of Windhoek charge them for the days they are setting up the stage and sound, in addition to the actual days of the event.
“We are charged for set-up days. If the authorities cannot accommodate us then we might just go to a town that appreciates the bigger picture,” says a visibly disappointed NAMAs Executive Chairperson Tim Ekandjo.
“We re-opened Ramatex, marketed the venue, spent over half a million fixing and getting it ready from the inside and outside and hosted the NAMAs successfully there for two years. After three years, we are now charged over N$350,000 just to host the event there despite the fact that we contributed to the success and marketability of the venue,” says Ekandjo.
It would not be surprising if the town of Swakopmund hosts the 2017 music awards. Swakopmund has hosted the NAMAs twice. And for each year the Swakopmund Municipality raised funds to pay for the venue. And they have reasons to want to be the hosts of NAMAs again. The municipality is on record saying its own study has shown that the music awards event has attracted over N$5 million in direct cash inflow into the town.
Ekandjo now says the NAMAs organising committee is currently reviewing its decision to host the 2017 music awards in Windhoek. This is after the organising committee publicly announced that the NAMAs 2017 would take place in Windhoek.
Ekandjo took a swipe at the City of Windhoek for not being more supportive of the music awards like Swakopmund Municipality.
“An event of this magnitude that attracts over 400 million viewers and spectators has generated good marketing for the City of Windhoek in attracting tourists and direct investment in the form of inbound Namibians coming into the city over that weekend, translating into the hospitality and other commercial businesses benefiting. One would therefore expect the relevant authorities to sponsor the venue at no cost by looking at the bigger picture, but that is unfortunately not the case,” says Ekandjo.