Afro Nation holds biggest-ever edition in Portugal
Afro Nation held its biggest-ever festival in Portugal last week, attended by tens of thousands.
Since launching on Portimão’s Praia da Rocha beach in 2019, the afrobeats festival has more than doubled in size.
The inaugural year drew 20,000, the second edition (held after the pandemic in 2022) hosted 35,000 and this year’s third edition recorded 40,000 people from 140 different countries, with 90% of festivalgoers coming from abroad.
The 2023 instalment featured performances from 50 artists including Burna Boy, Little Simz, Wizkid, 50 Cent, Booba and Davido.
Obi Asika, co-founder of the brand, previously told IQ that 50% of tickets for Afro Nation Portugal 2023 were sold before the bill was announced.
He also said that this year’s edition would build on the festival’s VIP experience, “elevating the beach club events and really optimising the stunning site that we build this festival on.
The 2023 instalment featured performances from 50 artists including Burna Boy, Little Simz, Wizkid, 50 Cent, Booba and Davido
“Evolving our infrastructure in an aesthetically pleasing way that is harmonious to our beach setting is incredibly important to us. In the same way, we always look to support the local industry and economies by working collaboratively and constructively with everyone around us,” he added.
Launched in 2019, Afro Nation festivals have taken place in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. The brand, which also showcases hip-hop, R&B, amapiano, dancehall and reggae, debuted in North America last year with Afro Nation Puerto Rico.
The festival brand expanded in the US in May with an event at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, presented by Event Horizon, SMADE and Live Nation. Debut editions for Detroit, US, and Lagos, Nigeria, are planned for later this year.
“A lot goes into selecting locations for an Afro Nation festival, the beauty of the site, event infrastructure, travel logistics and accommodation for guests,” co-founder Obi Asika told IQ. “But most importantly, everywhere you’ll find an Afro Nation event will be bringing joy to sites of cultural significance around the world.”
Given the “resounding success” of Afro Nation Portugal 2023, next year’s event in Portimão is already on sale, with tickets ranging between €199 and €599.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Afro Nation fest to debut in Nigeria
Afrobeats festival Afro Nation has announced it is debuting in Lagos, Nigeria, later this year.
The festival returned to Ghana last year for the first time since 2019 and has confirmed an additional African edition will take place in Nigeria in 2023, with the date and venue still to be revealed.
The news was announced today via the festival’s official social media channels, with the message, “We’re coming to Nigeria.”
“Nigeria is the home to so many international superstars who have made Afrobeats a globally loved genre,” says co-founder SMADE. “As someone who grew up in Lagos, and then spent years promoting African music in London and beyond, this will truly be a full circle moment, bringing the Afro Nation show back home to Lagos. We can’t wait for the biggest celebration of African music the world has ever seen!”
“Everywhere you’ll find an Afro Nation event will be bringing joy to sites of cultural significance around the world”
Launched in 2019, Afro Nation festivals have taken place in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. The brand, which also showcases hip-hop, R&B, amapiano, dancehall and reggae, debuted in North America last year with Afro Nation Puerto Rico. A Mexican edition had also been planned for September 2020, before the pandemic intervened.
Afro Nation expanded to the US last month with an event at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, presented by Event Horizon, SMADE and Live Nation. Its 2023 Portugal event is scheduled for Portimão from 28-30 June, headlined by Burna Boy, 50 Cent and Booba, before launching in Detroit from 19-20 August.
“A lot goes into selecting locations for an Afro Nation festival, the beauty of the site, event infrastructure, travel logistics and accommodation for guests,” co-founder Obi Asika told IQ earlier this year. “But most importantly, everywhere you’ll find an Afro Nation event will be bringing joy to sites of cultural significance around the world.”
The brand also launched a training programme for local crew ahead of its return to Ghana last year.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Playing the field: Ten new festivals for 2023
Fresh from 2022’s massive bounceback for the live business, it’s no surprise that this year is seeing a wealth of new arrivals on the international festival scene. Here, IQ previews ten of those inaugural events to learn what unique traits each has to lure consumers to buy tickets, and why their creators have decided that now is the right time to open the gates in what many consider to be an already over-saturated marketplace.
Where: Brockwell Park, London, UK
When: 26 May 2023
Headliners: Ghetts, Shy Fx: Specials, and Fabio & Grooverider and The Outlook Orchestra
“Project 6 Festival combines everything we love, from our experience of running festivals to our love of London’s incredible clubbing scene, offering something outside the box from the traditional daytime festival model, with the addition of ten night-time sessions across some of the city’s best-loved dancefloors,” explains James Rice, one of the principals at event promoters Outlook.
“At the tail end of 2022, we were invited to become part of south London’s Brockwell Live series and jumped at the chance to bring what we do across Outlook, Undivide, Free From Sleep, and our other events and projects to our hometown and the city and scenes that we cherish.”
In addition to the headliners, attendees can expect live performances from the likes of Mala and Joe Armon-Jones and their new full live band, as well as Ojerime, FLOHIO, Lex Amor, Dréya Mac, and many more, alongside some of the scene’s biggest and brightest DJs and MCs.
PRIMAVERA SOUND MADRID
Where: Ciudad de Rock, Arganda del Rey, Madrid, Spain
When: 5-11 June 2023
Headliners: Pet Shop Boys, Blur, Halsey, New Order, Kendrick Lamar, Depeche Mode, Rosalía, and Calvin Harris
Organised as a mirror event to Primavera Sound in Barcelona, which takes place the previous week, the inaugural Madrid edition will take place just outside the Spanish capital on a site that was purpose-built to host Rock in Rio Madrid back in 2008. The complex can cater for up to 96,000 visitors.
In parallel with its sister events in Barcelona (29 May-4 June) and Por- to (7-10 June), the new festival allows organisers to offer artists and their agents multiple dates, rather than just one, helping bookers attract world-class acts. And as with those festivals, Primavera Sound Madrid will operate a gender-balanced policy for its line-up.
“It’s different from Barcelona because we have lots of local people living not only in Madrid but also from southern and eastern Spain that are coming, as well as lots of international people,” says festival director Almudena Heredero. “We are working together with a number of institutions and authorities in Madrid to make this a success, as everyone is determined that the city should have a festival like Primavera Sound here for the long term. Through Madrid’s venue association, we have organised concerts in the lead-up to the festival, as we do in Barcelona, and we have a year-round programme to imprint the Primavera brand on the cultural life of Madrid and not just for the days of the festival,” she adds.
Where: Bernexpo, Bern, Switzerland
When: 21-22 July 2023
Headliners: RIN and Alligatoah
German and Swiss rap music will have a brand-new platform this summer at the inaugural Spex Festival taking place in the Swiss capital. Joining the headliners are Ufo361, Yung Hurn, Kool Savas, SSIO, Stereo Luchs, Nura, and many more hip-hop acts with organisers Gadget abc Entertainment pricing tickets low to attract a younger audience and maybe even first-time festivalgoers.
In addition to 26 acts across two stages, Gadget is programming various activities in the areas of sports, lifestyle, and fashion, with the hope that around 10,000 people per day will attend, although the flexibility of the Bernexpo site could allow that number to increase.
“We have been planning Spex for about 18 months, as hip-hop is a growing market in Switzerland,” says promoter Christof Huber. “Other festivals target international acts, but German language acts are becoming more popular here, so we wanted to support them while delivering something that younger fans can relate to and enjoy.”
Where: Bedrock Douglass, Detroit, USA
When: 19–20 August 2023
The successful Afro Nation brand has already made headlines in Ghana, Portugal, and Puerto Rico, and makes its US debut in Florida in late May, but the expansion into Detroit will truly be a historic move. “When considering which US cities would be right for our Afro Nation festival, Detroit was a clear choice,” says Natasha Manley, CEO of promoters Event Horizon.
“The musical legacy, culture, people and community of Detroit connects to why we started Afro Nation: to celebrate Black music and culture. Our diverse global audience will undoubtedly enjoy the unique Detroit show and appreciate the immense influence of Detroit on the evolution of music.”
The brand is bringing the likes of Burna Boy and Wizkid to Miami’s LoanDepot, while the line-up for Detroit – on the site of the city’s Bedrock Douglass Projects which Motown legends like Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson once called home – is still to be announced.
WOODSTOCK MUSIC AND ART FAIR
Where: Hantangang River Geopark, Pocheon, South Korea
When: 28-30 July 2023
Headliners: Loudness, Dynamic Duo, Boohwal, No Brain, 6band, Kim Do-kyun, Insooni, Kim Kyung-ho, and Kim Wan-sun
Having received permission to organise the first-ever incarnation of Woodstock to be held outside of the United States, Korean music business giant SGC Entertainment has, so far, announced an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rock, and pop stars for this new summer gathering.
The event’s main headliner, Japanese metal outfit Loudness, were the first Asian heavy rock band to enter the Billboard 200 charts, and enjoy a very strong following in Korea. With the themes of “freedom, peace, and love,” the festival has been created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, which was signed on 27 July 1953, bringing about an end to the Korean War. Organisers says more acts will be announced closer to the festival date.
Where: Porto Montenegro, Tivat, Montenegro
When: 28-30 July 2023
Headliners: DJ Damian Lazarus, Morcheeba, John Malkovich, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Taking place in the Bay of Kotor in the Adriatic Riviera, Rubix Festival aims to immerse around 8,000 festivalgoers in a creative world of fulfilment and self-expression, with music, art, cinema, and technology all forming part of the performances, masterclasses, workshops, and exhibitions on offer.
Set against the stunning waterfront backdrop of the vibrant nautical village and state-of-the-art superyacht marina, Porto Montenegro, the event will see attendees participate in everything from wine tasting to chefs’ tables, 3D printing masterclasses to body painting, and street art exhibitions to sculpture.
“Rubix is the ultimate fusion of entertainment, immersing festival goers in a unique creative world, and we’re thrilled to bring an event of this scope to the region for the first time,” says Danilo Kalezic, senior manager at Porto Montenegro. “Immerse yourself in electric drama, captivating art exhibitions, engaging workshops, and a cinema corner that will transport you to another world. Get ready to discover your true self, express your creativity, and indulge in unforgettable feasts and magical moments.”
ROCK N ROLL CIRCUS
Where: Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield, UK
When: 1-3 September 2023
Headliners: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Happy Mondays, Self Esteem, and Confidence Man
Utilising local star Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem, to curate this new festival in her native Yorkshire, AGN Events is looking forward to welcoming around 7,500 fans per day to this three-day event.
“Sheffield has such a strong tradition for live music, so we are really excited to be hosting our touring concept there,” says AGN Events director Ali O’Reilly. “There is nothing like it in the market – watching your favourite artists alongside incredible fire performers, aerialists, contortionists, and much more – the show is bringing a new dimension to the concert experience.”
Self Esteem’s appearance at the festival will reportedly mark the end of her I Tour This All The Time run of dates, which began in February this year to celebrate her smash-hit second album, Prioritise Pleasure. “Sheffield. I just had to come back one more time before I fully commit to writing again,” Taylor said of the new festival. “I’ve also curated my actual dream line-up to join me. I am genuinely deeply excited.”
Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio, California, USA
When: 6-8 October 2023
Headliners: Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, and Tool
Seen as something of a follow-up to 2018’s record-breaking Desert Trip, Power Trip gathers some of hard rock’s most legendary acts for a weekend of headbanging on the same site as festival darling Coachella and country music stalwart Stagecoach.
The new festival comes two years after promoter Goldenvoice signed a long-term agreement with the Empire Polo Club to use the location for additional festivals. While Power Trip has yet to provoke the same scramble for tickets that saw Desert Trip’s line-up of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Who, and Roger Waters programming a repeat weekend, hotel packages and VIP passes are reportedly selling well, despite general admission passes being set at $599 + fees. Pit VIP packages, meanwhile, are priced at $3,448 including fees.
When it took place in 2016, each Desert Trip weekend accommodated over 70,000 fans.
Where: Interlagos Racetrack, São Paulo, Brazil
When: 2, 3, 7, 9, 10 September 2023
Headliners: Post Malone, Maroon 5, Foo Fighters, and Bruno Mars (for two dates)
From the creators of Rock in Rio, The Town will debut in Brazil’s biggest city, where an estimated audience of 500,000 will attend five days of shows in an area of the city’s Interlagos Racetrack that is being completely renovated for the occasion. Construction teams are creating a sewage system to negate the need for chemical toilets, while synthetic grass is being installed to prevent mud in the case of rain. The reforms will also integrate under- ground pipes so the festival can run electricity cables.
The new festival is being touted as São Paulo’s answer to Rock in Rio, with organisers programming more than 235 hours of performances in the City of Music, which will host six stages. According to a survey by the Getulio Vargas Foundation, an economic impact of more than $260m is expected, in addition to generating more than 19,000 direct jobs.
“I love Brazil intensely,” says promoter Roberto Medina. “And, just like Rock in Rio, The Town was born from this passion for our land, from the amplification of looking at new opportunities, and from the desire that the pandemic brought me in these months of confinement to bring something new. It will be surprising. The entire concept was conceived based on an inspiring and cosmopolitan São Paulo, in addition to being ready to host an event of this magnitude.”
COUNTRY BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Miami Marine Stadium, Florida, USA
When: 11-12 November 2023
Headliners: Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Chris Young, Lee Brice, and Lainey Wilson
“South Florida is a [high in demand] entertainment destination, which currently doesn’t have any country music festivals,” states promoter Nelson Albareda, CEO of Loud And Live. “If you couple that with the fact that country music has a big and loyal following amongst Hispanics, we saw it as a big opportunity in the market, both within the music genre and geographically, to produce Miami’s first two-day country music festival.”
Noting that Miami has become a global entertainment destination hosting major music events like Rolling Loud and Ultra Music Festival to global sporting events like Formula 1 and the next football World Cup, Albareda adds, “Our goal is to create a memorable experience for music fans and our partner sponsors alike and ultimately establish Miami as a destination for country music enthusiasts from around the world.”
Miami Marine Stadium has a rich country music history, including iconic shows by the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Rogers, giving Loud And Live the confidence to set a daily capacity of 25,000 for its inaugural Country Bay Music Festival. “With the incredible line-up of top country music artists and a picturesque waterfront venue, this music festival will be like no other,” Albareda enthuses.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Afro Nation to launch in Detroit
The world’s biggest Afrobeats festival Afro Nation has announced details of its inaugural Detroit, Michigan edition.
The brand, which celebrates Afrobeats, Black music and culture, makes its US debut later this month at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida from 27-28 May, headlined by Burna Boy and Wizkid and presented by Event Horizon, SMADE and Live Nation.
A Detroit spin-off has now been confirmed for 19-20 August in partnership with Bedrock at the local real estate company’s Douglass site.
“When considering which US cities would be right for our Afro Nation festival, Detroit was a clear choice,” says Event Horizon CEO Natasha Manley. ” The musical legacy, culture, people and community of Detroit connects to why we started Afro Nation: to celebrate Black music and culture. Our diverse global audience will undoubtedly enjoy the unique Detroit show and appreciate the immense influence of Detroit on the evolution of music.”
Launched in 2019, Afro Nation festivals have taken place in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean
The event is being positioned to become Afro Nation’s flagship festival in the US. It will feature additional activations and events to honour “Detroit’s musical contributions to the world and highlight its connection to present day American, African and global Black culture and music”.
Launched in 2019, Afro Nation festivals have taken place in Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, with the 2023 Portugal event scheduled for Portimão from 28-30 June, headlined by Burna Boy, 50 Cent and Booba.
The brand, which also showcases hip-hop, R&B, amapiano, dancehall and reggae, debuted in North America last year with Afro Nation Puerto Rico, as well as its return to Portugal for the second time and Ghana, for the first time since 2019. A Mexican edition had also been planned for September 2020, before the pandemic intervened.
“We launched Afro Nation Miami recently and would love to do more shows in the US,” co-founder Obi Asika told IQ earlier this year. “A lot goes into selecting locations for an Afro Nation festival, the beauty of the site, event infrastructure, travel logistics and accommodation for guests, but most importantly, everywhere you’ll find an Afro Nation event will be bringing joy to sites of cultural significance around the world.”
Obi Asika on what’s next for Afro Nation
Afro Nation co-founder Obi Asika has told IQ that further international growth could be on the cards for the world’s biggest Afrobeats festival.
Burna Boy and Wizkid will headline the brand’s debut Miami, Florida edition, presented by Event Horizon, SMADE and Live Nation at LoanDepot Park from 27-28 May, while previous Afro Nation festivals have taken place in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean since the brand launched in 2019.
“We launched Afro Nation Miami recently and would love to do more shows in the US,” Asika tells IQ. “Brazil would be an incredible place to host an Afro Nation show and it is very much on our roadmap for the future, and of course more shows on the African continent.
“A lot goes into selecting locations for an Afro Nation festival, the beauty of the site, event infrastructure, travel logistics and accommodation for guests, but most importantly, everywhere you’ll find an Afro Nation event will be bringing joy to sites of cultural significance around the world.”
“Afrobeats is still a relatively new genre in terms of worldwide popularity and we are on a mission to help elevate the next generation of global superstars”
Event Horizon co-founder Asika has been co-head of UTA’s UK office since the company acquired his Echo Location Talent Agency in 2021, and will appear on The Open Forum: The industry health check panel at this year’s ILMC.
The leading agent stresses the importance of Afro Nation providing a platform for the next generation of talent, as well as showcasing globally renowned acts.
“Afrobeats is still a relatively new genre in terms of worldwide popularity and we are on a mission to help elevate the next generation of global superstars, so it was incredible to see such an enormous outpouring of love for artists such as Rema, CKay, Major League DJz and Uncle Waffles, as much as it was humbling to see how far artists like Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy have come,” says Asika.
“We’re sure to witness some big moments with artists on an impressive trajectory like Fireboy DML and Asake this summer, and also like bringing massive non-English language acts like Dadju to even wider audiences.”
Last year, the festival marked its North American debut with Afro Nation Puerto Rico, as well as its return to Portugal for the second time and Ghana, for the first time since 2019. A Mexican edition had also been planned for September 2020, before the pandemic intervened.
“In 2023, we will be building on our VIP experience, elevating the beach club events and really optimising the stunning site that we build this festival on”
The 2023 Portugal event is scheduled for Portimão from 28-30 June, headlined by Burna Boy, 50 Cent and Booba.
“We’ve just announced the first phase line-up for Afro Nation Portugal 2023 and are really excited about the opportunity with the show this year,” says Asika. “We always strive to represent as many genres and artists from as many countries as possible, led by Africa, and we have a great platform to build on after an incredibly successful event in Portugal last year.
“2022 saw a great deal of change, with a huge, brand new main stage, raised production levels and a completely unique backstage artist village concept that we commissioned. In 2023, we will be building on our VIP experience, elevating the beach club events and really optimising the stunning site that we build this festival on.
“Evolving our infrastructure in an aesthetically pleasing way that is harmonious to our beach setting is incredibly important to us, in the same way we always look to support the local industry and economies by working collaboratively and constructively with everyone around us.”
Asika says ticket sales for Afro Nation Portugal’s 2022 edition “surpassed all our objectives” despite logistical issues related to the pandemic.
“The Portugal show doubled in size and we sold 50% of our tickets for 2023 before we even announced our line up, so we have built an incredibly loyal fanbase for the brand,” he says. “There were difficulties in getting access to certain equipment as our industry still felt the after effects of the pandemic and one thing we have done as a business to combat that is to invest more in owning our own inventory. For example we have invested into owning our own main stage, security barriers and steel shields to use at our festivals in Portugal and West Africa, and also to allow touring artists and other promotions – such as Global Citizens and Black Star Line Festival in 2022 – to access it.”
“We are generally hearing good things about ticket sales and if you have a strong brand with a clear identity then people will keep buying tickets”
He continues: “One issue we have faced with building events in multiple territories such as Ghana, Puerto Rico, Miami and Portugal is around artist travel and visa difficulties, but this is part of our commitment to having as much global representation on stage as we possibly can.
“Ticketing can also be an issue, a process we want to make as easy and accessible as possible, so we have partnered with Easol to sell our tickets and introduced them to African payment gateways so they can take payment from customers using African cards. We pride ourselves on partnering with innovative technologies and removing obstacles in the industry.”
While Asika acknowledges there is some concern in the live events industry over the potential effect on ticket sales from the cost of living crisis, he is feeling positive about the season ahead.
“We are generally hearing good things about ticket sales and if you have a strong brand with a clear identity then people will keep buying tickets,” he adds. “Due to the backlog from Covid there were too many shows last year. Now things are back to normal and we broadly have a positive outlook on the events industry. The travel industry also seems to be recovering well and, as a promoter who offers international event experiencers, that’s very promising to see.”
Tech startup Easol partners with leading festivals
Experience commerce technology platform Easol has announced partnerships with a raft of leading festivals.
Easol will be the official booking platform partner for Afro Nation Portugal & Ghana, along with the UK’s Secret Garden Party and El Dorado.
The company, which launched a new financing solution for festival organisers in the autumn, says clients will be able to manage many aspects of their business on one platform – from setting their own booking fees to owning data – with complete end-to-end control of their brand, customer journey and finances.
“We’re super-proud to be partnering with these amazing festivals and feel honoured to be a part of their journey,” says Easol CEO Ben Simpson. “My co-founder Lisa and I started Easol to build a ‘creator-first’ alternative to traditional ticketing and third party booking platforms, that empowers rather than limits experience businesses and along with our team we are excited to support our new partners towards success in 2023 and beyond.”
“Having complete control and access to all elements of the festival organisation will be critical”
Suzi Sendama, head of commercial at Secret Garden Party, says: “When it comes to organising Secret Garden Party each year, we need a technology solution that is intuitive and easy to use so we can easily update our website with new information, add things to it as our festival grows and develops. We haven’t been able to do this with any other solution or partner except Easol.
“Having complete control and access to all elements of the festival organisation will also be critical, including control over our finances.”
Easol unveiled the full capabilities of its all-in-one toolkit to power festival organisers at its Festivals Showcase event streamed in September.
“Being able to upsell everything on one booking journey where everything is all working in-sync, with our own branding, will only help us sell more whilst providing a much better booking experience for our customers too,” adds Luke Wolfman, co-founder of El Dorado.
Afro Nation Ghana plans training scheme for locals
Leading Afrobeats festival Afro Nation is launching a training programme for local crew ahead of its return to Ghana later this year.
The follow-up to its 2019 debut, Afro Nation Ghana is set for 29-30 December at Marine Drive, Black Star Square, with line-up details to be confirmed soon. The festival site is located next to the spot where Ghana’s independence was declared by the first president Kwame Nkrumah, next to the Osu Castle.
The brand’s Portuguese edition took place on the Algarve coast from 6-8 July, drawing more than 35,000 fans from 134 countries over three days for headliners Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido. In what promises to be a significant breakthrough for the Ghanaian scene, its main stage has now been acquired by Afro Nation Ghana and is being transported to Africa for the December spin-off.
“We started Afro Nation to give a global platform to the artists that we love,” say organisers. “To round off what has been an incredible year, in collaboration with the Ghanaian government and our festival partners in Ghana, Benjamin Ntim and Kojo Annan of Event Blackstar Limited, we have purchased the main stage used at Afro Nation Portugal 2022 and it is currently being shipped to Accra for Afro Nation Ghana 2022.
“A stage of this quality doesn’t exist anywhere else in West Africa, and serves as a vital building block for the live industry on the continent. Afro Nation’s aim has always been to elevate the scene and artists from or inspired by the modern sounds of Africa, and by establishing this stage in Ghana and bringing the exact same high production value from Portugal to West Africa, is just one step towards a bright new future of live events in the region.”
“By 2025, this world-class festival stage will be fully operated by the West African team, without any assistance from the UK”
As with Afro Nation Portugal, which launched in 2019, and Afro Nation Puerto Rico, which was held in April this year, Afro Nation Ghana will work alongside and train local teams to produce the show and bring business to as many local vendors as possible.
“We have initiated a training programme, where a full stage crew will travel from Europe to Ghana with us and train a local crew on how to build and run the stage. By 2025, this world-class festival stage will be fully operated by the West African team, without any assistance from the UK.
“We will continue to support our culture and look forward to seeing many global artists perform on this stage in the near future across the continent.”
The inaugural Afro Nation Ghana was held in Accra over four days in December 2019, featuring acts including Burna Boy, Wizkid, Yxng Bane and Naira Marley.
A Mexican edition of Afro Nation had also been planned for Baja California in September 2020, before the pandemic intervened.
Portugal to ban festivals until 30 September
Under the Portguese cabinet’s stabilisation plan, festivals and shows “of a similar nature” will not be permitted until October 2020 and organisers will not be obliged to offer fans a cash refund for cancelled events.
The plan, which needs approval from the Portuguese parliament before becoming law, offers some clarity to promoters in the country, many of whom were awaiting an official declaration before deciding the fate of their 2020 events.
Festivals including NOS Alive, Paredes de Coura, Meo Sudoeste, Super Bock Super Rock and EDP Vilar de Mouros have acknowledged the government’s decision and state they are waiting for parliament to approve the measures before announcing how they will proceed.
Organisers of NOS Primavera Sound Porto, which had moved to early September in an attempt to avoid virus-related restrictions, made a similar announcement, adding that: “It seemed like a good idea, when we decided to celebrate Primavera in summer, we did it because we believed that in September we would be living in safer times.
“This new scenario does not allow us to celebrate what we wanted most. We continue to work hard so that, in 2021, we can celebrate more than NOS Primavera Sound.”
“When we decided to celebrate Primavera in summer, we did it because we believed that in September we would be living in safer times”
Under the government guidelines, organisers of festivals and other events scheduled for between 28 February and 30 September 2020 which were unable to take place due to the Covid-19 outbreak, can offer ticketholders a voucher of equal price to the original ticket.
This “guarantees the rights of the consumers”, reads the government document.
However, organisers of Afro Nation, which was due to host its second outing from 1 to 3 July, received criticism from some fans on social media upon announcing that they will not be issuing refunds for Afro Nation 2020.
“According to the new Portuguese law, your ticket will be automatically transferred to the new date,” reads a statement from organisers.
“Should you wish not to transfer to 2021, you will have the opportunity to sell your ticket via our primary ticket provider Festicket. Afro Nation will delay putting any tickets on sale in order to give ticket holders as much time as possible to resell tickets if that is what you choose to do.
“Your provider will be in touch today via email with further details on how to transfer to 2021 and how to resell your ticket via Festicket.”