Crazy cash, expensive alcohol and towels: Ridiculous demands made by top African musicians before performance

Crazy cash, expensive alcohol and towels: Ridiculous demands made by top African musicians before performance

We can start off with the most recent development in neighbouring Kenya, where in early August, just days before the presidential election, Diamond Platnumz performed a political rally at the Kasarani Stadium in the capital, Nairobi.

The Tanzanian singer arrived in Nairobi on board a private jet with his six-year-old daughter, Princess Tiffah, from South Africa, and flew back to Johannesburg via the same means, after his 10-minute performance. For his 10 minute performance, Diamond pocketed $100,000. Put differently the bongo flava musician earned $10,000 for every minute that he was on stage.

Staggering amount of money, that was.

Tanzania bongo flava maestro Diamond Platnumz.

Making of a brand

One argument that has been put forward in this fast-growing trend amongst the A-class musicians and those familiar with the entertainment market dynamics is that it takes a lot to make a brand. This is not just the raw talent but the additional support staff, equipment, and technology. But it is some of these details that can be shocking.

A ‘rider’ for instance, seems to be the newest kid on the block in terms of demands being made by various artists.

A rider can be a technical or a hospitality one.

For many artists, riders are a sign that they’ve finally made it as a brand. No longer do they have to pay for their own drinks, flights, meals, or hotels. Now they can demand that the promoter provides a bottle of the most expensive cognac or single malt whisky or even a pet monkey in their dressing room if they so wish.

The hospitality rider list requests or demands the comfort of the star and their team during the period of the performance while a technical rider specifies the types of equipment to be used, the staff to be provided, and other arrangements directly relating to the performance.

A number of celebrities try to keep their riders fairly simple: some water, a room to change, simple meals for themselves and their crew — and they are good to go.

However, there are those who take full advantage of having promoters contractually obligated to give them whatever they want and when they want it.

Nigerian musician Davido and crew in a private jet.

From American star Justin Timberlake’s ridiculous request to have doorknobs disinfected every two hours, Beyoncé demanding her dressing room be kept at 78 degrees, with heavily seasoned chicken legs, to Justin Bieber’s 10 luxury sedans, a massage table, and a private jet on standby for any of his travel desires, the list of some of these bizarre demands is mind-boggling.

Nigerian Afro-beat stars Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido, and Diamond are currently some of the African celebrities with interesting riders. A standard requirement for any promoter or event organizer seeking to book these celebrities, even before negotiations progress.

“They may seem obnoxious, but riders are really important. They show the value of an artiste. Every professional artist who takes his craft seriously has a rider, including a few Kenyan acts like Sauti Sol, Nyashinski, Nandy, and Otile Brown,” Daniel Tunde, an artist, told Nation newspaper.

When Davido’s hyped ‘Nairobi Show’ failed to happen in May, other than his hefty performance fee of $300,000 (Sh35 million), which the organizer couldn’t raise within the grace period given by the singer’s management, little-known event management firm 2icentertainment was also not willing to meet his demands.

Whenever booked for a performance in foreign destinations, the son of Nigerian billionaire Adedeji Adeleke uses either of his father’s two private jets — a Bombardier Global Express 6000 worth $62 million or a Bombardier Challenger 605 acquired in 2018 for $35 million.


The Express 6000 bought by Adeleke in 2020 has a capacity of 19 passengers, while the Challenger has a capacity of 12 people. David travels with between 15 and 18 staffers.

They include his band of at least five people and a deejay, three bodyguards or more, his lawyer, and his manager.

Had 2icentertainment managed to book Davido for the show by raising the performance fee, they still would have needed to settle more bills once the singer and his crew touched down at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

For his stay, Davido prefers a four- to seven-star hotel and gets a suite all for himself paid for by the host.

During his last visit to Kenya in 2018, he and his team stayed at Nairobi’s luxurious The Tribe Hotel; with the host paying $350 for his suite per night. His crew of 13 on average paid $150 per night.

Ever since Nigerian superstar Burna Boy became an international “big boy” performing in sold-out concerts in the US and UK as well as collaborating with a number of international artists, the likes of English singer Ed Sheeran and rapper Stormzy, acquiring his services is no longer something many organizers, particularly in Africa, can afford. This picture is best captured on his rider seen by Lifestyle.

Burner Boy.

 The last time Burna Boy performed in Kenya was December 2019 when he left many revelers disappointed after he showed up at the venue of the NRGWave festival in the wee hours of the concert.

Booking him then was affordable. Flying him on a business class ticket was less expensive than it would cost to have him now for a show in Kenya.

Unlike those previous visits, to bring Burna Boy back to the country for a show, an organizer would first have to part with a performance fee of $500,000.

With that out of the way, the organizer would have to book Burna Boy a 13-seater challenger jet.

 “Private jet to be vetted by management team prior to booking,” the star’s hospitality rider states.

Upon arrival at the airport, the ‘Kilometer’ hitmaker is to be picked up by a convoy of five vehicles, a Sprinter bus, a van, and three SUVs. Transportation should be available to the artiste for the duration of the trip.