June 01, 2023

"The alcohol costs more than the booking"

Kabza the Small and Mapahorisa have been named as some of the artists whose hospitality rider is exorbitant
Picture: Supplied

When booking artists for a performance, event organisers request a technical rider from the artist’s management, which is the name given for the technical requirements that artist needs in advance before a show. This is usually followed by a hospitality rider which is a list for the comfort of the artist on the day of the show. Often, it consists of specific foods, snacks and beverages such as water and sometimes alcohol, fresh towels and transportation to and from hotels. 



International artists have often been reported to have very specific hospitality riders. Beyoncé was reported to dislike old coffee pots.

 Her rider stipulates that she must have a "new" coffee pot in her dressing room and white tablecloths and rose-scented candles. Kanye West is said to ask for two tubes of Carmex lip balm, Nivea "Intensive" lotion, and L’Occitaine Soap, toothpicks and hot sauce. Adele dislikes alcohol from the US and asks for Italian, Spanish, or French red wine. Lady Gaga wants organic ginger and lemongrass tea and throat coat honey. She also wants an assortment of fresh fruit with edible skin, edible seeds, or citrus. 



At the recent South African Creative Conference which hosts artists, creatives, music industry executives, promoters, and stakeholders, events organisers complained about the exorbitant and alcohol-drenched hospitality riders by South African artists. Botswana promoter Leko Kenosi says that DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small’s hospitality rider costs more than their booking. "We have the amapiano artists that hardly pitch for events. They complain about flights, they are unprofessional and demand expensive alcohol that costs more than the booking," he says. "People don’t want to see you drunk on stage. At the end of the event, they demand extra rooms, they bring girls and demand they be fed and given alcohol on top of what you provided and had agreed on." Leko adds that older and more experienced artists are more humble and respect their craft. "Then you get artists like Yvonne and legends who pitch up and don’t ask for much. When you pay them, they take the same money and use it towards donating computers," he says.



Rashid Kay from the hip-hop festival Back To The City

 says in many cases it is the managers who need the alcohol and misbehaving more than the artists. "In many cases, the artists don’t drink. It will be their managers who want the alcohol. But in many cases, SA artist do not prioritise their craft. They demand ridiculous and expensive alcohol. They go on stage drunk and that is unprofessional and affects the quality of our stars." The Joy of Jazz COO Sipho Dlamini says hospitality riders are a pandemic on their own. "They are a serious issue. Artists demand the impossible. You end up losing out because of the expensive alcohol that cost more than putting the show together. These people come there and get drunk. So we are very strict about what we can offer. Of course, when we call you to perform for a fee, we make sure you are well taken care of but these days, the alcohol binging is out of hand." Festival Producer,  Mantwa Chinoamadi-Mutsinya agrees and says they have rejected artists based on their exorbitant hospitality riders. "We are there for the music and not for the alcohol."



Poet, singer and chairperson at Music Creators South Africa Nomsa Mazwai says she has been shamed at events for asking for the bare minimum as a hospitality rider. "When I perform, I ask for water, lemon, and honey," she says. "I was shocked when I got to festivals in South Africa. I was treated worse than artists that had very exorbitant riders. The people at the festival think that the more wha-wha-whee your rider is, the bigger you are bigger." Nomsa says she was treated poorly even by staff due to this. "They were surprised that I asked for only water and honey," she concludes

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