The venue was the Aburi Botanical Gardens. Chirping by birds had ceased, indicating a return to their nests to pass the night. That’s because the time was circa 6:30pm and dark clouds had gathered over the park where the Frytol-Joy FM 2022 Party in the Park was held.
The street lights that intersperse those huge trees that welcome one into the garden could not help bring much brightness. The stage lights too. The disco-like environment that ensued seemed to offer much succor to the many families that remained at the park up until that time.
Instead of cracking the whip, so to speak, for the ‘kidi boobs’ and ‘kidi baabs’ (Children) to get into the cars for the ride back home, the mummies and daddies urged them on to the edge of the stage to sing to Kidi’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ song.
The kids thus sang their voices hoarse while their parents stood atop chairs to catch a glimpse of the goings on. Some even seemed more excited than the children as they blurted out the choruses to the love-themed songs by Kidi. The cameras on their phones were equally busy- archiving the performances for future reference.
Having determined that they have had enough of the ‘Gyal dem sugar’ hit maker, the MC, Kofi Hayford, asked the question- Are you ready for Kuami Eugeeeeeeeeeene!!!? The answer was a deafening yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!
And when he came, the children proved to Kuami Eugene that they could match him, boot for boot, in singing his songs- ‘Where the party dey?… ‘Omama y33b3 seimu’. ‘Open gate oo’… ‘dem go open for you’…’…if you no get money, anything you say be funny’… ‘They are taking your babes away.’
The 2021 VGMA Artiste of the Year was so impressed that he asked, “where did you learn my lyrics from?” The internet!! They replied. He therefore decided to reward them. A dancing competition followed. ‘Stay or away? He asked the audience to judge after all contestants have had their turns. Then he doled out the cash prizes to the delight of the winners.
Before night fall, souls of the patrons were inspired by songs from Perez Musik, especially the Gas among them. Musician ‘Photocopy’ thrilled his age mates till they could bear it no more. Oh what a show!
Attendance and activities
Earlier, the crowd I witnessed at the Aburi Gardens reminded me of what happened in the days of ‘Meet me there’ at Labadi Beach during the Independence Day and Republic Day holidays- cars filled every space and human beings robbed shoulders and trampled on each other in order to move about, literary.
The revelers came in their numbers; ice chest bearing, kid’s toys on car carriers and colourful picnic mats. Without any directives, they spread their mats on the grass and started partying. I saw a full buffet table set up with family members taking turns to feast on the obviously sumptuous meals.
The deployment of a large number of personnel from the Ghana Police Service ensured the presence of lawfulness and the absence of thievery.
As would be expected, long lost friends found each other at the venue. By their hugs, shouts and handshakes, ye shall know them.
The side attractions such as bouncy castle, cooking competition, lime and spoon racing, spin the wheel, and musical chairs were well patronised by the attendees.
In a ‘naturaaaal’ (nutshell) as the Weekend City Show team on Joy FM would say, the 2022 edition of the Frytol-Joy FM Party in the Park was held on 26th December, 2022. It was well organised and the patrons enjoyed it very well.
The case for more parties in the park
“People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point” – George Carlin.
I am therefore gradually having to come to the conclusion that, entertainment is something Ghanaians are willing to spend their last pesewa on if they mean to.
I say so because prior to the Frytol-Joy FM Party in the Park, two much-hyped events had been cancelled due to low patronage. I am referring to the WizKid Live and Kizz Daniel Concert.
During a discussion in the office, I mentioned ‘lackfundaisis’ (Lack of funds) as the disease that may have caused the abysmal attendance recorded at Wizkid’s event, for which reason he abandoned it. Kizz Daniel took a cue as ticket sales, two days to the event, from what deep throat sources told me, was nothing to write home about.
If lack of funds was responsible for the low interest in the aforementioned shows, what then would become of all the events that had been scheduled for 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th– Party in the Park, as regards patronage? I wondered. I was very certain that the expected gains by the organisers, would not materialise.
For those who missed the fun, Samini Experience- Samini Dagarti, BHIM Concert- Stonebwoy, Rapaholic Concert- Sarkodie and the Freedom Concert- Shatta Wale, were all held during that long weekend. From what I heard, patronage was above average at all the shows. Except Freedom Concert which the self-acclaimed dancehall King made another claim of being the first Ghanaian artiste to fill the 40, 000 capacity Accra Sports Stadium. This is in spite of available visuals which point to wide spaces in the phone-lit audience that went viral on social and mainstream media.
What that tells me is that, apart from the failed shows by the two Nigerian artistes, in spite of the prevailing economic hardship in the country, people found money to entertain themselves during the yuletide and will do same during any holiday. Especially, if the holiday falls on a Monday.
More so, the pork joint on the Orgle Road as well as London Bar on the Weija-SCC stretch of the Accra-Kasoa highway has never been empty during any weekend, high prices of beer, Guinness and other alcoholic beverages notwithstanding. They are always ‘chilling their bodies’ as someone puts it.
It is based on these observations that I would like to suggest that the Joy FM Party in the Park, which we refer to in-house as PIP, should be held, not just on Boxing Day every year, but on selected public holidays as well.
Thankfully, the Ministry of Interior has proactively released the list of holidays for this year.
And there are many Mondays in there. January 7, Constitution day, is a Saturday, which means today, Monday January 9, is a holiday. However, it is too early in the year to organise another PIP for obvious reason- the meat is down to the bone.
The first holiday for consideration is Monday March 6. By that time, salary for the month of February would have been paid. Businessmen and women would have secured their first gigs for the year and some mobilisation money or advance payments may have hit their back accounts. Families will be reminiscing the fun time in December, so the time will be right to put them back in the mood.
Monday May 1 is another holiday worth considering. That is Workers Day. What better way to spend the day than to be with the family in a park? Money should not be an issue because bank alerts for April salary would have sounded- ting-tong! on their phones.
And oooh! How refreshing it would be to have a PIP for Muslim families on Eid-Ul Fitr day!!!. Currently, from my observation, there is no gathering point for especially the younger ones after the ‘Eid prayers. They mostly roam about in the huge malls for the rest of the day. The adventurous ones resort to dangerous motor riding and car ‘boot-top sitting’ escapades which results in maiming injuries if not death, sometimes.
Unfortunately, that is one of two holidays that the Ministry of Interior could not place a date on. How I wish it will fall on a Monday. That’s because any other day will render my proposal null and void. Especially if it turns out to be a Wednesday- naaaah!
August 4- Founders’ day also falls on Friday, giving us three days of rest. A family day out will definitely be appreciated as the stresses of life, induced by happenings during the first half of the year, would have mounted by the 8th month. A sure way to de-stress as one big family is PIP.
Finally, December 26 2023- Boxing Day. Although it is a Tuesday, it is very apt because Monday 25th December, Christmas day, is a holiday. So four days of rest in a row. Patronage will definitely surpass that of 2022, God willing.
It’s time to go
I know a counter argument to my proposal will be that PIP is best suited for December, because that’s when people receive their end of year packages, thus are loaded with cash. That is true.
Nonetheless, as indicated above, entertainment, especially in the company of family, is too important to be engaged in annually. Five PIPs in the year should not be an overdose. I think.
What is more, one does not have to buy unduly expensive food at such gatherings. You take your own food and drinks along. Whether fried yam and fish or French salad and rice with bolognaise, your pocket will determine.
What is certain is that you get the opportunity to rejuvenate, meet old friends, make new ones and most importantly, leave life’s troubles to take care of themselves, even if temporarily.
With the help of charitable sponsors like Frytol and others like them, I have no doubt that five PIPs for 2023, in Accra and Kumasi, will not be too much to ask for.
Unilever, Nestle and Fan Milk Limited (Danone) target families with their products. They could be brought on board by pitching this proposal to them. Photos of the thousands of families that thronged the venue is our trump card.
This is my case for more PIPs this year. Good?
Auf Wiedersehen- That’s Good bye in German.
Let God lead!! Follow Him directly, not through any human.
The writer works at Myjoyonline.com. He is also the author of two books whose contents share knowledge on how anyone desirous of writing like him can do so. Eric can be reached via email [email protected]. The two books
DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.