Entertainment of Wednesday, 11 March 2015
It is just as well that the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium has many exits; otherwise staff of Citi FM would have faced the wrath of the sizeable crowd that had gathered at the main entrance of the stadium.
The crowd had been waiting in anticipation for the best part of the two hours to gain admission to watch the much-publicized Beenie Man concert last Saturday.
As they waited, Citi’s Managing Director, Samuel Attah-Mensah appeared at the gate to make a brief and unusual announcement, “we are sorry the show is off”.
Earlier on in the week, many enthusiastic Beenie Man fans had seen the stage go up at the stadium as well as huge loudspeakers so they were not ready to take someone’s “joke” announcement that the show was off.
In the state of uncertainty, the crowd began to get restless and Citi FM went on air live to the stadium to speak with Paul Adom Otchere, their newsman on location, who confirmed the show was indeed off “due to technical reasons”. As to be expected, the fans at the gate began to riot and ask for the “blood” of the organizers.
Some of them engaged in scuffles with the policeman on duty and a couple of them were locked up at the police station.
Not only were the fans asking for an immediate re-fund for their tickets but they were also mad at the organizers for leading them on “a wild goose chase”.
Perhaps noticing how the situation was developing, the Citi FM crew decided to use other exists to get out of the stadium and regroup at the station’s premises at Adabraka.
The “technical reason” that were cited for the no-show situation, as one reporter of Ghanaian newspaper found out, was indeed an issue of inexperience.
Mr. Atta-Mensah told this reporter that when the stadium was booked for the show, there was no mention that a football match had been scheduled for Saturday, the day for the show.
Perhaps they should have been doubly sure.
So when they were informed, “I almost had a heart attack”, Mr. Atta-Mensah said.
He said that no amount of convincing could change the stadium authorities mind to cancel the match.
The technical men could neither be made to do the setting up after the match.
According to ace sound engineer, Ralph Casely-Hayford who spent sleepless nights providing the set-up.
He said it was not possible for them to set up after the match in time for the show.
For the kind of equipment that they have, everybody knows they need time ahead to complete set up.
He said that even in small venues like the Conference Centre, where Beenie Man had played the previous day, he needed 24 hours to complete the job. “How would anyone think that we could set up at the stadium with a matter of hours?” he asked.
As expected, the stadium no-show generated a lot of speculations from music enthusiasts as to the real reason behind the fiasco.
That the show suffered from sabotage was top of the agenda.
Some said it was Joy FM that sabotaged the show because Beenie Man was meant to “burn” the Boyz II Men show Joy FM and Charter House had organized.
Indeed long before last Saturday, Citi FM presenters had been heard boasting that Joy FM had brought in the “Boys” and they were bringing a “Man”, playing on the names of the artistes.
Ironically, on the same night as the Beenie Man stadium no-show, Joy FM had organized a gospel concert at the Accra International Conference Centre where one of the featured artistes had sung Beenie Man’s hit song Praise Him, to the enthusiastic response of the audience.
But both Atta-Mensah and Casely-Hayford pooh poohed the suggestion of sabotage.
Both of them agreed that it was not the case, but a matter of unforeseen circumstances.
Mr. Atta-Mensah said he was grateful to the fans for their understanding and the orderly manner in which they came for their refunds and made the promise; “Citi FM? You haven’t heard the last of us yet”.