This Saturday,the highly anticipated Burna Boy Xperience in Kigali goes down at the Intare Conference and Events Arena in Rusororo, on the fringes of Kigali.
The Nigerian hit maker is expected to jet into town Saturday morning, and shortly afterwards head to the venue for a sound check session ahead of the concert later in the evening. He is expected to put up a live performance backed by his six-piece live band.
But murmurs and questions about the choice of venue for the concert just won’t go away: Why, with all concert venues in town to choose from, did organisers opt for the Intare Conference Arena, considered by many as too far?
Patrick Samputu (middle), the senior sponsorship manager at Bralirwa, makes a point at the press conference yesterday, as Mark Nkera, the senior brand manager for Heineken Rwanda looks on. Photos by Nadege Imbabazi.
It was the same question in October last year, as the state-of-the-art facility played host to the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
At a joint press conference that brought together sponsors and partners at the Intare Conference Arena on Wednesday afternoon, the choice of venue was explained:
Matthew Rugamba, one of the organisers, speaks to journalists, as RDB’s Umar Abineza takes notes.
“You may have noticed that we have changed from Remarkable Rwanda to Visit Rwanda. Remarkable Rwanda remains our brand name, but we’re trying to be more proactive by inviting people to come and visit Rwanda. It is imperative for us to use such a world-class venue for such events other than having something so beautiful but that does not mean anything to us,” explained Umar Abineza, the Domestic and Regional Tourism Specialist at the Rwanda Development Board.
The multi-million dollar, 2,500-seater conference facility was inaugurated in June 2017, spurred by the Government of Rwanda’s strategic vision to grow the country’s MICE(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) sector by positioning Kigali as a regional and continental Conference and Events hub.
Abineza further elaborated on why the Rwanda Development Board, through its Visit Rwanda initiative had chosen to partner with the Burna Boy Xperience in Kigali:
journalist ask a question during a press conference at Intare Conference and Events Arena, in Rusororo, on Wednesday afternoon.
“People will be coming from as far as Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, just for this concert. It provides an opportunity for local tourism, for our hotels, bars, for the transport sector. In the past, it has been said that Kigali is not a very lively city in terms of entertainment and nightlife. But there is no one else that is going to make Kigali more lively other than us. It’s also a way of encouraging the private sector. Today Entertainment Factory is bringing Burna Boy, tomorrow another company will come up and they want to bring another big artist, and the fact that RDB is partnering with Entertainment Events is more than a vote of confidence. We have confidence in the private sector that they can do such an event very successfully.”
Other partners that were represented at the press conference include; RwandAir, Bralirwa (through its Heineken brand), and Entertainment Factory Ltd, the concert organizers.
“When the Heineken brand was presented with this opportunity we knew the timing was right. We just launched Heineken Made In Rwanda in December, and we needed to be part of occasions and mass events where consumers can now get to enjoy Heineken at an affordable price. Globally, the Heineken brand likes to associate with memorable events that only Heineken can do. So this was a good opportunity for us to partner with Entertainment Factory and sponsor the event, considering the caliber of the artist we are bringing,” explained Mark Nkera, the senior brand manager for Heineken Rwanda.
When the announcement for the concert first came out. there was widespread concern that the venue would be a little bit far for the general public to access, but organisers have been working round the clock to mitigate the problem.
There will be shuttle buses to convey concert goers from Amahoro Stadium in Remera to the concert venue starting 6 pm, with one bus departing after every 20 minutes. Each round trip will cost Rwf 3,000, to cover transport and entrance to the concert.