Showbiz after virus pain…will the sector survive the turbulence

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Ambassadorial deals, tours and entertainment shows are either suspended or cancelled after the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought the world on its knees.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world’s arts calendar upside down, as artistes and organisers around the world are either postponing or cancelling festivals, concerts, tours, theatre shows, movie premieres, and film and television productions, some in the middle of shooting.

Music stars keep calling off gigs, concerts, and tours as restrictions are being imposed on travel and large public events all across the world due to the spread of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus

If the pandemic intensifies in the coming months, entertainment pundits have argued that it will cost Ghana millions of cedis, in a sector that its contribution to national GDP cannot be underestimated.

Already the government has said it will spend GHc1billion under a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to cushion Ghanaians as the government tightens measures to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Announcing the package, President Akufo-Addo said the amount would mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that job losses are minimised.

As Ghanaians await the impact the stimulus package will have on all the various sectors of the economy, some of the questions that must be asked are how much will be diverted into the creative arts sectors, and will that amount be enough to reduced the loss of the industry players?

One of the country’s biggest entertainment events in the industry, the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards that was expected to take place this year will definitely suffer a setback has the world is unable to predict when the pandemic will end.

This year, the nominees’ jam of the VGMA, which was scheduled for The 4th of April at the Koforidua Jackson Park, was postponed. This was in compliance with the National Directives on Public Gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like the VGMA, many events, which organisers have already invested into, will have to be postponed to an unknown date, a situation that is likely to hurt an already suffering industry in the country.

Ghanaian musician King Promise has postponed his on-going world tour due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Having already performed in Berlin, Hamburg, Brescia, and Amsterdam from 5th March, the Commando hitmaker’s 8th March sold-out London show was the biggest yet and had everyone talking.

His next stop which happens to be Canada has however been postponed due to the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus.

Stonebwoy’s American concert also adds up to the number of shows that have been put on hold due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The artiste, through his management, released a statement saying, the US government banned all large gatherings in the country after the World Health Organisation (WHO) labelled coronavirus a pandemic.

“Our team has tried everything in our ability to make this show happen, however, the government has restricted every large gathering at this time as seen on every major news,” the statement read.

The management of Omini Media, operators of Citi FM and Tv announced on the same night the President directive closure of public events that it had suspended all of its outdoor events, in line with the president’s directive.

The affected events were the Accra Music Expo, originally slated for March 21, 2020, and the Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO), which was originally scheduled for March 28, 2020.

It is, however, incumbent on all stakeholders as well as investors in the showbiz industry to as a matter of urgency start developing strategies that will help rejuvenate the sector after the virus is defeated in the country.

It is undeniable fact that the creative arts sector in any economy has the capacity to propel economic growth if the policies that are germane to the industry are implemented.

In 2019, the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts released a report that shows that the Arts industry contributes 4.2 % of the gross domestic product; representing $763.3 billion.

The Arts industry has contributed more to GDP than agriculture, warehousing and transportation; employing 4.9 million people who earn $370 billion. In the United Kingdom, the creative industry grew at twice the rate of the economy; contributing more than £85 billion in 2015, representing 5% of the UK economy’s gross value added at that time as published by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport.

In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) reported that cultural activities contributed to 1.53% of Ghana’s GDP.

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