Roadie Chief Wants Immediate Action

Robbie Blake’s offer to mediate in the ongoing war of words between the South African Roadies Association and some of the country’s leading live music producers isn’t enough for the crew organisation’s chief.

The Technical Production Services Association chairman is in the process of setting up a “clear the air” meeting for the beginning of next year. But SARA chief Freddie Nyathela isn’t happy to wait that long and wants Blake – who is also chief exec of leading event company Showgroup – to call the meeting now. He’s suggesting it should be scheduled for Nov. 17.

Blake says it’s the production sector’s busiest season and it’s not feasible to invite and expect many of the interested parties or TPSA members. He said if Nyathela wants the meeting before the end of the year, then he’s welcome to set it up himself.

Nyathela has publicly said major companies such as promoter Big Concerts and production houses including Gearhouse, Mushroom Productions, Running Crew, and Sho-Show-Loza are racist in choosing not to give work to his members.

The companies have denied this and Big Concerts chief Attie van Wyk, who co-promoted the first multi-racial concert to be held in South Africa after the breakdown of apartheid, has warned Nyathela that his comments are defamatory.

Despite the bitterness on both sides, Blake tells Pollstar he still believes it may be possible to find some “common ground.”