Lack of government support puts damper on VGMA 2019?

BIG events often rely on huge publicity and the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA), which is the biggest awards scheme in Ghana, has over the years been heralded by intense promotion and marketing.

This year’s edition is the 20th and with anticipation already high, one would have expected a huge publicity blitz which would fuel excitement among fans and nominees but that does not seem to be the case.

With barely three weeks to the main awards on May 18, publicity for the show has been uncharacteristically muted.

Charterhouse, which has built a reputation for its excellent organisation of not just the VGMA but other events, are experts when it comes to publicity, often erecting huge billboards and splashing posters around the capital but that too seems to be missing.

Checks by Graphic Showbiz indicate that all may not be rosy at Charterhouse as people perceive with regards to financing and there are fears the lack of funds may scuttle the amazing plans Charterhouse has for this 20th edition of the VGMA.

Last month, before the official launch of VGMA 2019, CEO of Charterhouse, Theresa Ayoade, indicated that they needed support to make the event a sustainable one.

She said, “since the Music Awards started, everything has been done through sponsorship, our own investments and ticket sales.

“However, this model is not one that will ensure sustainability. It’s not a recipe for success because now it is difficult to get sponsorship and that is why we are appealing to the government to give us support.

“We have a lot of good ideas we want to push this year but I’m afraid we may have to scale back if we don’t get help even though it is an anniversary year and people have high expectations,” she said.

She indicated that although their previous attempts at securing support in any form with successive governments had been unsuccessful, they were hopeful this year it would happen.

She also disclosed that they had been engaging former Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Madam Catherine Afeku, before she was reassigned and would resume talks with her successor, Madam Barbara Oteng-Gyasi.

At the launch of this year’s edition on March 15 at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra, Mr Kwadwo Antwi, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), who was the Guest of Honour, stated that government was committed to providing the needed financial muscle for the VGMA as done for other events.

Well that support seems not to be forthcoming as Communications Officer at Charterhouse, George Quaye told Showbiz yesterday, Wednesday, April 24.

“Truth is, government did mention they would support but as of now, nothing concrete has come through just yet.

“You don’t see giant billboards and hear loud advertising and publicity as you did with AFRIMA because we cannot afford it just yet but like I said, we are hopeful and still waiting patiently,” he said.

George Quaye also said media support had been low this year. “It’s been very difficult also to get media support, as most media houses expect some form of payment for any kind of support. Of course the assumption is that the VGMA can afford it.

“Nevertheless we can assure the public that the event will still be phenomenal and sold out because the fans truly love VGMA and appreciates it for what it truly is: Ghana’s Grammys.”

This year, the VGMA was launched without the announcement of a venue. It has alternated venues between the National Theatre and the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) over the years but in an earlier interview with Showbiz, Theresa Ayoade said the VGMA had outgrown those two venues and wanted a bigger space.

George Quaye put people’s questions about the venue to rest when he said it was the Conference Centre once again.

“The venue is the Accra International Conference Centre. It might not be in the main auditorium but as of now, the venue is the AICC,” he said.

When asked what the challenge was in getting a venue, he said, “There’s no challenge really. New things take time so we are considering all the options and go with the very best.”