The first of four international launch events of the 2016 Ghana Music Week Festival was held in the United States of America on October 16 and 17, 2015.
In all, three activities were held in the U.S: an International Media Launch at the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC on October 16; a Launch Durbar at Mount Vernon City Hall on October 17; and an after-party, same night, at the BB King Hall in New York, hosted by Leslie Quaynor’s Fantasy Entertainment.
The Washington DC launch was hosted by His Excellency Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to USA. Also present was his Deputy, Mr. Skido Achulo and other top personalities.
Launching the festival, the Ambassador outlined Ghana’s unparalleled achievements in the sub-region and lauded the organizers- Musiga, Showbiz Africa, Fantasy Entertainment and MoTCCA, for including Ghanaians in the Diaspora in the next GMW Festival. He urged: “all who have not been in Ghana recently to take advantage of the festival and visit home in March 2016”.
The Mt. Vernon Launch Durbar was held under the distinguished auspices of the Mayor of Mount Vernon City in New York, Ernest D. Davis, at the Mt Vernon City Hall on October 17. An elated Mayor Ernest Davis who warmly welcomed the delegation from Ghana, in the presence of a heavy African-Americans, said: “tourism can be used to bridge the gap between Africans and Africans in the Diaspora, stressing on the need for partnership such as the one between Ghana and the City of Mount Vernon”.
He said: “Brothers and sisters, for centuries, Africa has not been on the positive minds of even Africans and we have to correct that. We correct that by coming together, understanding that, we have a destiny. Wherever we go, the offsprings of Africans are not duly respected and to change that, we just can’t talk about it, you gotta [got] to do it. If you want to compete in the world stage, you gonna [going] have to come together as one people to make that change”.
He added: “There are shortcuts but the people here process the energy, the talent and the intelligent to make sure that, the continent of Africa is not continually rid by others. We should not be the one to participate in our own demise”
The primary objective of the USA launch and subsequent ones to be organised in the UK, China, Australia and Nigeria, according to Festival Executive Co-ordinator, Verus Nartey, is: “to roll out an innovative package to attract a targeted 2,000 visitors/tourists to Ghana for the main GMW Festival in March 2016, and in the process, marketing Ghanaian music & tourism to the world”.
On his part, President Obour said: “We believe strongly that music as an arts form plays a key role in the development of every country. And for us, we believe strongly that music can be a pivoting factor to propel Ghana tourism industry to another level”.
Some individuals who have distinguished themselves and contributed to the promotion of Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ghana and the U.S. were honoured at the launch. They were Mr. George Bright-Abu, editor and Publisher of the Afrikan Post; and Mr. & Mrs. Agyekum of New Millennium Health Care in Columbus Ohio.
Rabbi Kohain Halevi, a native of the City of Mount Vernon, who has been living in Ghana for the past 25 years and currently heads PANAFEST, was honoured for his role in promoting Ghana and U.S. tourism. Prof James Small, owner of Sanaa Lodge, a hotel in Ghana; Dr. Mark Naison and Mr Joseph Lawson Johnson were all honoured for their contribution in promoting Ghana and U.S. tourism.
The final event was held on the night of October 17 when U.S based Fantasy Entertainment hosted an after-party at B.B King Hall, in New York for the team to sell the idea to event-going masses.
All the activities were graced by some Musiga Executives, and a host of musicians including Rocky Dawuni, A.B. Crenstil, Samini, Joey B, Gasmilla, Becca, Pappy Kojo, Edem and D. Black. Journalist Ebenezer Anangfio was on the team to cover the launch activities.
The U.S Launch of Ghana Music Week Festival was sponsored by South African Airways, U.S Embassy (Ghana), Fantasy Entertainment, Aqua Safari Resort and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts.
During all launch activities, a summary of events were announced for the March 1-7, 2016 Festival- which extends to March 14, 2016 for visiting international participants/tourists: Highlights of 2016 GMW Festival Programme are:
March 1> Opening Ceremony at Cape Coast Castle
March 2-4> West African Music Conference, Accra (hosted by Youth Icons)
March 4> National Comedy & Spoken Word Day, Accra
March 5> Ghana Music Honours, Accra
March 5/6> GH All-Star Live (GH Independence Concert), Accra
March 7-11> GMW Music-Tourism Experience @ Kintampo Water Falls, Mole National Park, Manhyia Palace, Nzulezo Village, Kokrobite & Aqua Safari Resort
March 12> International Music & Cultural Day & GMW Diplomats’ Dinner, Accra
March 14> Closing and Departure
The international launch next hits China on November 27-28, 2015.