Anyone that knows me knows I am a huge Tekno fan. The man is a talented singer, songwriter, dancer and producer. He has been able to do something a lot of artistes are unable to by producing hit after hit. His music is made up of catchy melodies and memorable lyrics. ‘Pana’ was basically my 2016 song, so when I heard he would be coming to Kenya I started to count down to what I imagined would be one of the best concerts this year.
I go to a lot of concerts and events. Some of it is because of the nature of my job and the other is because I genuinely enjoy them. I prefer events and concerts to going to a club most days and have been happy with the high number of concerts this year. What I am saying is I know what the average concert looks like and I have basic expectations that I imagine should be met by an event organizer. The Tekno concert did not deliver in anything. The organizers Roya Ent (whoever these guys are) and Hype ENT (seriously you should know better by now) were pathetic.
Insecurity and disorganization at the entrance
I took a boda-boda to Ngong Racecourse at 11.30pm because there was epic traffic on Ngong road, only to be greeted by a disaster of an event. The disorganization was apparent as soon as I got to the entrance. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what line I was supposed to be on as all I could see were crowds of people standing around. Finally, after asking a couple of people, I got onto what looked like a semblance of a line and then the nightmare began. So apparently, there were two lines to get in: Advanced tickets and one for those buying at the gate. That’s where all the order stopped. There were multiple lines with people pushing their way to the front because it was simply not moving.
It took me about an hour to get in and in this time, I was almost trampled, got an eye injury from being pushed in and had my feet stepped on multiple times by people in the queue. I was in all honesty, scared. My friends were in a different line to get in and I was worried if something bad happened to me I wouldn’t have anyone to help me. Please note that even VIP ticket holders had to go through this madness to get in. As in you pay Ksh 8,000 or Ksh 10,000 to be pushed at the entrance of a concert? These guys are truly jokers. A friend had a VIP ticket and she left because she couldn’t deal with the chaos at the entrance. I absolutely complained to the ticketing team when I finally got to the front of the line because in all honesty, I did not pay Ksh 3,000 to be herded in like a cow.
The disorganization would have been laughable if it didn’t lead to a security threat. These guys had the people buying tickets at the gate squeezing past the advanced tickets line to get in. Multiple people were robbed in this mess. I was basically holding my wallet and phone tightly to my chest to avoid being robbed. I must question the intelligence of the person/people who set that up as it is nursery level logic to make the lines actually face the entrance.
Dangerously careless and corrupt security personnel
The security personnel were incredibly incompetent. I did not get the name of the security company but they have no business being in that business if that’s how they do the job. It started at the gate with a guard asking people who did not produce an ID getting in to give him a bribe so he could let them through. At the ticketing entrance, the guards were actually the ones pushing people and making getting in a worse experience than it already was. Worst of all though, was the allegations that there were people who later in the night were giving guards Ksh 500 so that they could get into the concert that the rest of us paid Ksh 3000/4000 for.
Also, there simply wasn’t enough security. There are multiple people whose phones were snatched at the entrance. The security set-up should have been such that if you weren’t coming for the concert, you could not get in to Ngong Racecourse at all. There were so many petty thieves hanging about at the entrance taking advantage. It was so bad that even when we were leaving the concert, one of the security guards warned us to watch our phones as people were being mugged.
Mediocre setup and performances
I am tired of the awful drinks station setups at concerts. There were very limited options and they had only two people at three stations serving all those people. It was complete chaos and it took about 45 minutes for me and my friends to get drinks.
The setup at the main dome was just so so. They also did not have screens at the back or on the sides, just at the front. I won’t comment on the MC or the DJ because that’s not who I came to see. The opening acts were a yawn fest and because of the disorganization, the first act was getting on stage past midnight. The only performances that were a little exciting were Fena and Kansol, but they don’t have that many songs so it was a short set. Everyone else was on stage singing music from over 10 years ago and it was the same acts from all these other concerts so nothing to spend time writing about here. To be honest, it felt like a jam session. Though to be fair, the average age of those there looked to be 21 so maybe I’m just too grown for that mess.
Tekno’s 28-minute joke of a performance
After what seemed like forever, the man of the hour got on stage. It was 3am and my friends and I were finally ready to have a good time. He started off well with one of my favourite jams, ‘Be’ followed by another favourite, ‘Samantha’. I was impressed because he had a live band and I was finally enjoying myself thinking this would perhaps make up for the unpleasant happenings of the night. Suddenly, the band stopped playing and this happened a couple of times. He started using playback but this does not fix the situation as in the middle of ‘Pana’, the DJ (Crème) messed things up and Tekno stopped the song. The crowd started to boo because of all the interruptions.
He performed ‘Duro’, ‘Diana’, ‘Wash’, ‘Yawa’, ‘Go’ and ‘Rara’ but it was all hurried. Tekno was visibly frustrated and it was sad to watch as his stage presence was great and so were his moves but it simply wasn’t enough to give a good show. I would have preferred he didn’t use the band if he hadn’t had enough rehearsal time with them. The sound was awful and there were times the band was louder than him. After a confused 28 minutes of a performance, he left the stage.
I have never seen such a sad crowd at a concert before. Everyone looked like they’d just come from a funeral and the place immediately started to empty out. This is the most ridiculous thing though; Prezzo got on stage after Tekno. First, I did not know that guy still makes music. Second, these organizers have opened a new level in the worst concert ever universe.
I want my money back. How do I get my money back? We seriously cannot put up with this kind of mediocrity when it comes to concerts anymore. We need to demand quality from event organizers. I would gladly pay for VIP for concerts but from experience it’s usually a complete rip-off. We are already being overcharged for tickets especially if you compare with what our neighbours are paying for similar concerts, and it’s unacceptable that we cannot even get the basics right. A successful events company is not in being able to bring a big artiste and market a concert, but in the actual execution of the event. That being said, there are very few of those in Kenya. Sponsors of events also need to push organizers to deliver quality, otherwise they should stop attaching their brands to mediocrity.
After that disappointment of a concert, I went to Kiza for the afterparty. My friends and I had more fun dancing and singing along to Tekno songs at a club, than at the actual concert we had just come from. That should tell you everything you need to know.
By Mwende Ngao