The announcement earlier this week that the Ticketpro Dome would close its doors as a venue on 07 September 2021 has sparked a reaction from the industry. The Planner Guru hears more.

On Monday, 19 July 2021, a statement was received by The Planner Guru’s news team announcing the closure of the Ticketpro Dome as one of South Africa’s most iconic event venues. The official handover of the venue will take place on 07 September 2021.

“The selling of the Ticketpro Dome is extremely disappointing and heartbreaking for our industry. The Ticketpro Dome has been home to many international concerts and events in South Africa, and this will undoubtedly leave a huge void. Unfortunately, as we are only the managing company, we were unable to change the outcome of Sasol Pension Fund selling the venue due to force majeure,” commented Carol Weaving, MD of RX Africa.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, the Ticketpro Dome launched its Hybrid Studio.

The Ticketpro Dome’s Hybrid Studio

“Our sector has been extraordinarily innovative in transforming our offerings to accommodate online participation, but a hybrid event incurs two sets of costs, one for the online component and one for the in-venue aspect. Attendance capacity restrictions make in-person events unviable, and online does not carry the same appeal,” noted Projeni Pather, chairperson of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers.

Following the announcement this Monday, it was revealed that Sasol Pension Fund has sold ‘The Dome’ to WeBuyCars.

Where to from here?
The announcement has left many feeling that more can and should be done by the government to support cultural and creative industries impacted by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. These industries not only play an important economic role but sustain the livelihoods of workers and their families.

“Government has failed miserably in serving the arts, cultural and entertainment sector right through the lockdown period by not establishing an Advisory Committee of industry specialists that could work together with the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture to develop and implement a relief, rehabilitation and recuperation strategy for the sector… The Department of Arts & Culture can no longer continue to operate with its head in the sand and ignore the economic challenges of the sector and the important contribution of the sector to South Africa’s economy and to the country’s well-being,” highlights Ismail Mahomed, director of the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He adds that, up until now, the government’s efforts have lacked strategic vision that has further been marred by maladministration and corruption.

“There has been no strategy by government to ensure that arts companies that provide employment do not shut down… There has to be a drastic rethinking on how government provides relief funding to the sector,” he says.

Homemakers Expo at The Dome

A word to government
In the latest statement sent on behalf of RX Africa, the company said the following:

“Recognise that the business events industry cannot be switched on and off depending on the level of restriction. Unlike other industries, we require anywhere from four to 12 months to organise our events. We are a well-regulated, professional industry that has designed additional safety guidelines to mitigate the hosting of business events. These guidelines have already been tested at our proof of concept pilot events in 2020 to demonstrate the safety of business events.

“In every sector mentioned here, the call has been largely the same: Mr President, drive the vaccination process far more efficiently and assist our industries with the support funding we deserve for the contribution we make to arts, culture and South Africa’s economy. Then, trust that we – like you – want to do the best for our people, our guests and our supporters. We have already shown our commitment to following pandemic protocols. Don’t allow a blanket ruling to steal our chance to help the rebuilding of the country’s economy.”

For more information, contact Dionne Mudie, PR for the Ticketpro Dome on dionne@tpwagency.co.za

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