The organisers’ first point of concern would have been financing the event. As with any investment there is a risk of loss and some may decide to minimize the risk by reducing costs which could have a negative effect and a feel of a job half done. As a festival attendee, there was no evidence of cut corners to reduce costs. Afro Nation Portugal organisers analysed the potential risks and took actions to minimise the impacts in order to maximize returns.
In risk analysis, one may decide to transfer, accept, avoid or reduce the impact based on the costs versus benefits of dealing with the impact.
As the first event, Afro Nation Portugal had a brand to protect. With no proven record, failure of the first event could have affected the survival of the company as a whole; as potential costumers loose faith on the brand.
Security was a big risk as over 20,000 people were gathered in close proximity. It was clear that measures were taken to secure the area with netted fences surrounded the concert area. Security searches before entering the concert ensured no harmful items were allowed in the concert area. Security guards and wristband system to access the back stage area also worked to secure artists’ safety. These measures created a safe zone, as there have been no serious injuries reported. However, Afro Nation could consider further security measures such as detectors considering the increase in security breaches across the globe.
The tokens system acted as a measure to reduce over drinking and loss of cash behind bars. Not having cash behind the bars eliminated the risk of petty or organised theft. More importantly, the likelihood of having casualties from over drinking was reduced by prolonging the process to get drinks at the bar, as attendees would have a limited number of pre bought tokens, and once these run out, one would have to queue for tokens and then drinks all the while the concert is going on. This means only those desperate for a drink would go through the hustle of getting one especially as the night progresses to the main performance of the night.
Afro Nation Portugal had a wide range of artists and entertainers with a balanced programme for each day of the concert, which allowed flexibility to change. As with any event in life, things don’t always go to plan and it’s important to be flexible and make contingency plans.
Changes can be positive as well as negative and it is important to be prepared for both. In an interview, Smade; the founder of Afro Nation said they had originally planned for 5,000 ticket sales, but had to adjust to the demand for more tickets. With 22,000 tickets sold, the original planned sales more than tripled. The flexibility of the organisation to deal with changes is very impressive.
The Marketing and branding team did an excellent job communicating with customers before, during and after the event. Prior to the event, there was information on the weather in Portugal, confirmed performing artists as well as cancelled performances. This engagement worked to create an expectation and maintain excitement of the event.
Furthermore, the organisers went the extra mile to create visual and memorable items to support the Afro Nation brand. Tokens and wristbands could have been any off the shelf, mass-produced, plain pieces of plastic and wristbands, but branding them formed not only a visually recognisable brand but also subconsciously communicated quality to stakeholders.
Merchandise and extra events during the day such as the boat and beach parties created extra revenue to the organisers whilst requiring minimal investment. These acted to maximize the income from the opportunities created by the investment of the concert.
The above and more worked successfully to create value for money to concert attendees. Evidence is shown as many attendees posted positive messages on social media with the hash tag #Afronation. One tweet read ‘Afronation, money well spent” with many others of a similar nature, whilst many tweeters confirmed that the concert exceeded their expectations. This will work in Afro Nation’s favour for future events. .
By Aggie Abraham