THIS year, the Ghana Music Awards or Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) will celebrate its 20th anniversary and expectations are high among industry personnel who are looking forward to something extraordinary right from launch till the main event.
Organisers of the Music Festival, Charterhouse, know how important and special this year’s edition is and are planning something big for the musicians and their fans.
However, all those plans may not see the light of day if they do not get the financial support needed to make it a reality.
The Chief Executive Officer of Charterhouse, Theresa Ayoade, who was at the Showbiz offices on Tuesday, March 12, called on government to come to their aid.
“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.
“This year is 20 years since the Ghana Music Awards was started and we believe it’s time to push it to the next level to make it a national and even international event that is up there with the best such as the Grammys and we can only do that with support from the government.”
“If we want the event to grow beyond this current level, then we need all the 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.
Theresa Ayoade disclosed to Showbiz that they have tried to seek support from successive governments over the years but their efforts have always been unsuccessful.
“We have sent requests throughout the years for support even in kind, like with venues and other logistics but we have never gotten any attention and we’ve had to do it on our own.
“Last year, when we found that the government had given funding for AFRIMA, we were very hopeful and decided to re-engage the government this year. We sent proposals to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and have been waiting for a response but so far we have not heard anything.”
“Activities for the Music Awards start early; by this time, we should have launched the event with other activities following but we delayed this time hoping to hear from the Ministry. Then the reshuffle also happened so we are going to try and engage the incoming Minister on it again,” she stated.
Theresa Ayoade said they had long-term plans of positioning the VGMA as a tourism event.
“We want to make it possible for tourists to spend a whole weekend in Ghana during the event. We have called it GH hosts Africa where we can give people packages including airline, hotel accommodation and tours while they also get the chance to be part of the concert.”
“This year we will be celebrating the Year of Return and GH Hosts Africa has a huge potential of being a flagship event for this celebration. We can use it to attract artistes of Ghanaian origin who are doing well out there in the UK, US and other places.”
“We can make it a homecoming for them and while they are here we can look at ways of collaborating so that our Ghanaian musicians can gain. We need to push our musicians to the next level and we need to give them platforms through which they can get there. All this can be possible with government involvement,” she said.
Some of the things Charterhouse wants to do this year include what Theresa Ayoade describes as Heritage Projects, such as a Music Museum and Walk of Fame. The idea is to immortalise musicians and package the country’s history in a way that can attract tourists.
There is also the Presidential Ball, which is the industry awards and the plan is to bring the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the industry players together.
Charterhouse says it also has a plan to scale up its industry seminar which is on the theme: “Future of Music Business in Ghana,” while they want to hold the Celebration Day Concert a day before the main event instead of after, like it has been done.
Theresa Ayoade said: “It is our desire to invite artistes across Africa to attend the event and that’s why we want to bring it forward.”
VGMA 2019 will be launched tomorrow, April 15, at the Labadi Beach Hotel.