Cloud of uncertainty is still hanging on social event even though the government has lifted ban on live entertainment event after Covid-19 cases subsided.
Event sponsors are equally skeptical that entertainment events will pick after the government gave green lights. The government first lifted the ban on social gathering in August last year, but this was shortlived as Omicron wave forced strict rules to bring down transmission rate.
“It has been a quite challenging experience,” said Remmygious Lubega, an administrator at RG Consults, a productions and events organizer. “With all the unpredictability, numbers haven’t been able to attain, since the health guidelines are clear and restrict crowds, which affects the viability of events,” he adds.
Even with innovations like venturing into virtual platforms haven’t yielded much as revellers have kept off . “It is not yet practical, and we still have a long way to go,” he added.
The limitations to numbers have further seen the rise in ticket pricing since the events organisers try to stay afloat. From Music Concerts, which mainly dominated the space, have only witnessed new entrants, while the once-dominant routine events like fashion shows, stand-up comedy, car expositions, food and beer fests, Dance, theatre to film festivals for the private sector have not returned.
A few annual events like the Ubumuntu Arts Festival, Urusaro International film festival, and the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant have been seen to carry on, alongside the use of the hybrid event format of virtual platforms like social media and television broadcasts.
Daniel Ndayishimiye, the Mercedes fashion week organiser, said lifting the ban on live events was a welcome move that will help the creative industry recover. To Arthur Nkusi, the proprietor of Arthur Nation, an events organising company, it is still too early to predict the future of the events space.
“In terms of a sustainability of the events business space, it is picking up, but I haven’t yet seen an actual sign which assures us of a green light,” he explains.
“In one can’t think, or fully invest in three or five months ahead events project because we are uncertain of what may happen,” he adds.
Ndayishimiye shares the same thought, “The only issue is not knowing when the great times are going to last as we always want to plan our events at least four months minimum and with these periods you can’t know how the situation will turn in the next
three or four months and most of the time we have been ending into postponing already prepared events which have been a huge loss to most of us,” he adds.
With an option of holding a hybrid event set up in the hope of expanding audience reach, Lubega states how sponsors a skeptical too, “While there is streaming and digital media is being adopted, visibility may be attained, but this ought to be reflected practically through the sales on the ground, which is on easy,” he said.