Until recently, events’ organizer and Promoter Balaam Barugahara had been a force to reckon with and an authority in anything to do with music concerts in the country.
Almost every artiste in Uganda would yearn to have Balaam get involved in and promote his concert as history had shown that his events had little chance of flopping.
Balaam had also gained a good reputation and built relationships with the common event sponsors which was a plus as he was always assured of money, PR and media support for any concert.
But due to the recent turn of events, Balaam has lost his former popularity and is slowly being dethroned by new players including KT Promotions, Bajjo Events among others.
This has been witnessed as the big artistes (who always worked with Balaam) have resorted to organizing their own concerts or opting for other events’ organisers.
Case in point, Sheebah’s concert which took place at Hotel Africana was organized by KT Promotions, 10 Years of Eddy Kenzo (took place at Kampala Serena Hotel) and the upcoming David Lutalo concert (at Lugogo Cricket Oval) are all by KT.
Also in 2018, singers Bobi Wine and Bebe Cool also decided to organize their own concerts, leaving Balaam with only one concert (Chameleone’s Legend Saba Saba) in all the top 6 artistes in Uganda.
In this article, The Tower Post analyses the possible causes of Promoter Balaam’s downfall and what he can do to reclaim his throne.
Promoter Balaam is a pronounced supporter of President Yoweri Museveni and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) which has earned him criticism from Opposition supporters and sympathisers.
It was also rumored that the promoter was instrumental in the frustration of singer Bobi Wine’s concert which was supposed to take place at Mandela National Stadium Namboole but was later transferred to Busaabala due to what he said was government sabotage.
This has since tainted Balaam as an anti-Bobi Wine activist and a government mole who is using his concerts to promote the NRM agenda rather than support artistes.
Currently, Bobi Wine is a political hot cake and is arguably the current face of Uganda’s opposition. Anyone who comments negatively about him is presumed as a supporter or sympathizer of the ruling NRM.
Balaam’s political attachments have seen artistes draw a distance from him so as not to be labelled NRM supporters which could lead to boycott of their concerts.
Also the incident that happened as production House Swangz Avenue celebrated 10 years where empty bottles were thrown at singer Bebe Cool over his comments on Bobi Wine and his declaration of NRM’s support were a learning point for other artistes.
“You have to be on Bobi Wine’s side to get the support of the local person currently.”
The Chameleone incident.
The Tower Post understands that promoter Balaam had warned Chameleone not to invite Bobi Wine to his Legend Saba Saba concert but the latter showed up anyway.
Balaam who was also using the event to launch his new FM station Radio 4 had invited government Chief Whip, also the Kiboga Woman MP, Ruth Nankabirwa as the chief guest.
But during Nankabirwa’s speech, the crowds kept chanting “People Power”, a political Pressure group led by Bobi Wine prompting Chameleone to grab the microphone from the legislator and carry on with his performance.
“This is our Moment. We thank you honorable. I think that is enough from you. Let us move on,” Chameleone said before continuing with his performance.
He later proceeded to invite Bobi Wine who was in the audience to the stage.
This incident was awakening for other artistes intending to work with Balaam who is not good friends with Bobi Wine and could bring a ruling party politician to the stage causing a broil with in the revelers.
This could also be another reason why artistes don’t want to work with Balaam no more.
Disregard of sponsors brought onboard by Artistes
Several times, sponsors have complained about how promoter Balaam makes promises while seeking sponsorships and fails to deliver after an agreement is entered.
This normally happens in instances where certain sponsors are brought on board from the artiste’s side and others from the promoter’s side.
Balaam has always favoured sponsors from his side, frustrating those from the artistes’ side. This has proceeded to ruin relationship between the artistes and the frustrated companies.
In January 2018, David Lutalo’s Wololo concert was sponsored by Vision Group owned Bukedde TV, Royal Foam among other sponsors, but during the final Press Conference at Lugogo Cricket Oval, Balaam pulled Lutalo from the companys’ branding to address media in an open space with no brand visibility.
This had a bad impact on the artiste as some companies had vowed to never work with David Lutalo while others vowed to never sponsor another event organized by Balaam.
This year, Lutalo gave his concert to KT promotions instead of Balaam who he had been working with.
Whether the trend will continue as more artistes run away from the promoter or not remains to be seen.