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Arena Market: South Africa

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The closure of the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg in July 2021 was a devastating blow to the country’s infrastructure. Owner Sasol Pension Fund sold the building to WeBuyCars, as RX Venue Management, which operated the Johannesburg venue for 20 years, said the venue was unable to operate during the country’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

At the time, RX Africa managing director Carol Weaving said: “This is extremely disappointing and heart-breaking for our industry. The Ticketpro Dome has been home to many international concerts and events in South Africa, and this will undoubtedly leave a huge void.”

“The Ticketpro Dome has been home to many international concerts and events in South Africa, and this will undoubtedly leave a huge void.”

Nonetheless, the centres of Cape Town and Durban remain popular touring routes for international acts, with casino and hotels group Sun International the most established venues owner in the country.

Dave Lombard, events and entertainment manager at Sun International-owned GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town, says since capacity restrictions were dropped in summer 2022, things are now “back to normal and full capacity.”He says: “We have already secured seven international acts for the last few months of 2022. The majority of these are sold out already. I would definitely say that the live entertainment space is ready to take off again, especially with international acts, as people have been starved of this for the last two and a half years.”

He adds that capacity restrictions at 50% were a huge challenge, and the economic feasibility of hosting large events and shows was prohibitive. “We’re definitely hoping to reach pre-lockdown attendance levels soon. The number of ticket sales are showing positive signs of this.”

“We’re definitely hoping to reach pre-lockdown attendance levels soon. The number of ticket sales are showing positive signs of this.”

The venue can be configured for 2,200-7,000 people and recently upgraded its PA in the Grand Arena with a full L-Acoustics K2 rig, with Kara II fills, and DiGiCo Quantum 338 desk.

Forthcoming acts include Karyn White, Foreigner, OneRepublic, Lumineers, David Gray, and Smokie.

Durban International Convention Centre (8,000-capacity) has previously hosted the likes of Akon, Enrique Iglesias, and James Blunt. It underwent a major ZAR27.3m (€1.6m) upgrade in 2019 although its forthcoming calendar was predominantly focussed on business conventions at the time of writing.

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