Samas take a break from Sun City tradition

2011-04-02 17:47

The yearly exodus of the music industry to Sun City in Rustenburg, North West, for the South African Music Awards (Sama) has ground to a sudden halt.

For the first time since 2003, the Samas will be held at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg, on May 20-21.

The last time the party was in Johannesburg was at the Sandton Convention Centre in April 2001. Now in its 17th season, it had become a tradition for the music industry to gather at the resort.

Caroline Hillary, spokesperson for the Samas, said the move was necessary for the ­event to evolve.

“This is part of a natural growth of the awards,” she said. “Risa (the Recording Industry of South Africa) wanted to
involve the public more. It became pointless for them to spend colossal amounts of money on an event that catered only for the industry, the media and a select few.

“Now we plan to have thousands of ordinary people take part in the festivities. The general public is ecstatic about the move to Montecasino. It’s only the media that’s complaining.”

The plans for this year will make the event the biggest ever.

Said Hillary: “We’re building a dome for the ceremony that is bigger than the Superbowl (at Sun City) and takes in even bigger numbers.

“The event will be more glamorous and there will be lots of after parties spread out over Montecasino.”

Nominees, artists and selected media will be accommodated in the hotels at Montecasino.

“It’s not a budget issue, it’s in the name of growth,” she said.

Hillary dismissed the possibility of the awards ever going back to Sun City. “It will seem a little silly to go backwards. I can tell you that this (Montecasino plan) is going to be massive.”

The ceremony at the Sandton Convention Centre was an epic failure because of poor ventilation and the large number of people who attended. But Hillary was quick to point out that they had since engaged a production company to run the show.

Thoko Qoboza, spokesperson for Sun International, owners of Sun City, said Risa had made a business decision.

“It’s not that they were unhappy with Sun City. It cost them a lot to accommodate people and do other things. They tried to postpone and find a way around the costs but it didn’t work out,” she said. “We’re not sad or angry. When things get back to normal they’ll probably come back to Sun City.”

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