The events and entertainment industry in Zimbabwe is huge. I sadly cannot put a number to it but between birthdays, parties, occasions, events, holidays and just general weekends, there is a lot of action in the industry. Of course, all this partying has to be done somewhere so people providing venues make good money off these events. Going forward offering an outdoor entertainment venue as a business is a good idea to look into. There are special considerations that have to be made to create the kind of outdoor entertainment area that has good prospects going forward so let us discuss these.

Pandemic in mind

This article could’ve been about a general entertainment venue but we have to keep the covid-19 pandemic in mind and how it changed things. Entertainment was completely dead for a while there. To make matters worse the pandemic doesn’t seem to be giving up and we are likely to see more waves. So much so that it may be declared endemic. The vaccination drive has reduced casualties and this brings relief to the communities and nations that were ravaged by lockdowns. The consensus internationally is that going forward allowing entertainment and events to go on is appropriate with a bias towards outdoor events. And so that brings us here.

Zimbabweans love outdoors

There’s another reason behind focussing on outdoor events and that is the love Zimbabweans have for outdoor entertainment. Perhaps the favourable weather in most months of the year plays a part in this love. You can also look at our traditions and history to understand that concepts like jiti are the same as modern-day outdoor festivals. There are very few if any events that Zimbabweans will not adapt to an outdoor affair.

Events

So what sort of events are you looking at that can be hosted outdoors. We have already mentioned weddings, parties and holiday celebrations. There are a few more adventurous ideas you can look at, either you host them yourself or you position your venue to be ideal for those hosting these types of events. Before the pandemic hit events such as Madirirano and the Cookout were growing. For those not in the know, these were monthly events that offered patrons a place to collectively celebrate. The Cookout was more family-oriented offering entertainment for people of all ages. There are many other reasons to celebrate. Globalisation has brought harmonisation to celebration days such as a chocolate day or beer day. You can look to such occasions as opportunities to get extra mileage out of the venue.

Key considerations

It should go without saying that this idea requires land. However land is not the only requirement. You will need to talk to your local council about licensing and laws about the property and the area it is in. Liquor licensing for sales and consumption is also important. The bylaws will also cover health and hygiene while the acceptable numbers would be governed by a combination of the council by-laws, fire code and covid 19 regulations for as long as they remain. The penalties for contravening any of these regulations can be quite severe so it is best to adhere to them.

Pricing

Now let’s look at the money. The method of charging is simple because you will charge on a time basis. If a group of people want to use the venue for an event you will negotiate with them based on the duration of the event. So you will have charges for 1 day or 2-day event and so on. However, we need to think about this carefully. For example, if somebody wants to hire the venue for a 1-day hair expo that starts early in the morning they are highly likely going to set up the day before. So while the event is for 1 day, the space will be occupied for at least 2 days. This will likely impact your pricing. You may also want to differentiate your pricing based on the expected numbers, which will affect things like hygiene and security requirements.

Marketing

U will need to be innovative with the marketing. There are many entertainment venues currently available even if we look at the outdoor ones only. So in addition to your marketing such as social media, a website, classified listings you will want to give yourself a little edge. Liaising with event planners and event hire companies would be a very good start. Secondly, look at communities and organisations within the communities. It’s conceivable that a group of bakers might want to host a cake day (November 26 in the US) celebration. These communities knowing about you will give you some extra help in marketing. Remember to make it easy for people to access you and details about your venue.