Historic concert to be held in front of Parliament

By Talaia Mika 30 May 2023, 6:00PM

Samoa's year-long 60th Independence anniversary celebrations will end with a bang with a "thanksgiving concert" on Wednesday in front of the Parliament at Malae o Tiafau.

Deputy Prime Minister, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio said in an interview with the Samoa Observer that it will be "a unique and sacred concert" as it will be the first time a concert is held in front of the Parliament.

"Because of the nature of the concert, everyone wants to play a part in it and it's the first time we've ever held a concert in front of the Parliament," he said. "We have to tread carefully because of sacred ground, we have to ask permission and we're going to treat it with a lot of respect. 

"The concert is not going to be a rough one, but a very solemn and sacred in a sense and enjoyable as well. We've had celebrations nationwide throughout the last 12 months and now we are finishing on a high note.

"So it's about reflecting back to the events of the last 12 months and we must give thanks because it hasn't been easy, it's been very eventful and now we are coming to the end and we must reflect."

The Deputy Prime Minister said this is where the thanksgiving idea came from because prior to the event there will be a honours and awards ceremony and the lowering of the flag.

Tuala also declared that there will be "no alcohol" as the Government wanted the concert to be safe and a family event, and is encouraging families to attend with their children.

"It will be fully secured because we have all the forces of the government in action here, police will take care of the security I expect and we're quite comfortable that the safety factor is being considered," he said. "We're going to end with a bang after years of celebrations, and without fireworks and we will instead have lights around and a great night to enjoy with families.

"We also have a very good technical team and those are the guys that make the show happen, separate from the singers that perform on stage and 80 per cent of any show has to do with the technical team."

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, most of the artists see the concert as an opportunity to give back to the country. Many of the artists were never given the opportunity before to come and sing and most of the songs they will be performing are easygoing pop music. 

The Government has allocated SAT$300,000 to pay for the concerts including the artists, though Tuala has emphasised that even this amount was not enough due to the presence of high-profile artists. 

"If you look at the kind of artists and all of the people behind it, it's a lot more but it's not about the money it's about the government allowing the private sector to take on these events," he said. "Usually these events are organised by Government officials but they had their own work cut out that are responsible for their jobs.

"But this is very prudent of the Government to actually allow the private sector to sort it out and this means that the officials can now focus on doing what they're supposed to do.

"If you cost it according to proper economics, it will be close to a million tala and of course, the Government doesn't have that sort of money so a lot of these artists are coming in not for the pay but they're here to make it happen. A lot of people are volunteering but the Government has given them some money which is enough to enable the concert."

Tuala added that it was not easy to try and coordinate the artists because of their requirements, especially when dealing with professionals, who have their own managers as well as specific requirements.

The concert is supported by the Government and they've outsourced it to a local private company Radio Polynesia. As the initiator and sponsor of the event, Tuala said it is in their interest to ensure the concert happens. The concert, which is free of charge, will feature Moses Mackay, Marina Davis, Zipso, Robyn Akari, and other overseas and local artists.

By Talaia Mika 30 May 2023, 6:00PM
Samoa Observer

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