Sample Business Studies Paper on Sub-Saharan Music Festival

  • Project Brief
    • Project Purpose

The purpose of the project is to plan and execute a festival to celebrate Sub-Saharan music, and to use the festival as an opportunity for bringing together Sub-Saharan cultures through musical performances. The project will be executed on behalf of the client, a cultural promotion entity that uses music as a therapeutic form of communication.

  • Background

Over the past years, various festivals have been developed to celebrate cultural diversity while also giving people platforms for socializing and developing functional networks. According to Hugo and Lacher (2014), festivals are an appropriate way of celebrating glorious traditions, cultures, and heritage by bringing together people with shared interests in specific elements of culture. They enable people to share special moments and emotions with their loved ones while also creating opportunities for adding structure to social lives and connecting with community backgrounds. Additionally NCCPE (no date) points out that festivals provide a distraction from the exhausting routines of day-to-day lives and provide inspiration for recalling important people and events. The value of festivals thus implies that identifying an opportunity for a festival can help in celebrating specific elements of societal life that have not been observable in the past.

Sub-Saharan music has been identified as unique in spite of not being celebrated frequently. According to Thorman (2018), Sub-Saharan music is unlike any music in Europe or the Western world. It is mostly characterized by the use of repercussion instruments, polyrhythm and mostly takes a call and response format, in which there is a soloist and backup singers collaborate to bring out the best tunes (Joseph 2016). This type of music is however slowly fading as it is being replaced by more westernized musical formats, which deviate from the traditional African cultures that had characterized Sub-Saharan music (Torp 2017). A festival that brings together the Sub-Saharan communities such as the planned music festival will be able to realize various benefits including inspiring new discoveries and the development of new ideas, encouraging conversations among different audience categories, and obtaining public support for activities such as research and developments aimed at promoting culture, music, and harmony (Zhang, Fong, Li and Ly 2019). Such platforms also offer opportunities for younger generations to learn through interactions with groups such as students and educational institutions.

The Sub-Saharan music festival is motivated by the absence of a similar festival to celebrate the music and cultures of communities living within the Sub-Saharan region in a unified manner. The festival is thus aimed at bringing together cultures, knowledge, and traditions of the region through music and art and developing perspectives that will be shared with the next generations. All festivals represent culture in one way or another and variety can be adopted in the celebration of cultural uniqueness (Zhang et al. 2019). The Sub-Saharan music festival will serve the purpose of bringing together the diverse Sub-Saharan cultures and can be the foundation of even greater identification of cultural uniqueness. It will be aimed at building a sense of community among the participants.

  • Project Definition
    • Project Objectives
  • To bring together people from the Sub-Saharan region in a festival that will enable sharing of cultures through music and other art performances.
  • To create an opportunity for communities in the Sub-Saharan region and others to learn about the richness of cultural practices that are in the region through music, and to steer progress towards support for similar events in the future.
  • To share the process and outcomes of the festival with the public through online channels such as social media, websites, and e-mail platforms.
    • Project Scope

The project entails planning for the Sub-Saharan Music festival to be held in Cairo, Egypt, communicating with key stakeholders, finding and preparing the location for the event, establishing media platforms for the event and sharing them with the public, and executing the festival, including facilitating the development of videos for online uploads and reporting the outcomes of the festival after completion.

  • Project Deliverables and Desired Outcomes
  • A clear budget with well-stated outcomes detailing all the project aspects.
  • A music and cultural event that will attract at least 10,000 people, over three days, who will give culturally aligned performances in music and art.
  • A collection of video content from the festival shared effectively through social media platforms and websites for posterity and reference when planning such future events.
    • Exclusions

This project does not include the following;

  • Providing transportation and accommodation to the audience attending the event.
    • Assumptions and Constraints
  • The festival can be used as an opportunity for marketing by companies willing to sponsor the event, just like other festivals. According to Peris, Mut-Camacho, Franch, and Campos (2019), in recent years, changes in events sponsorship patterns have aligned with those in marketing and promotional activities. Thus, it is assumed that the project will get sponsors willing to contribute based on the type of marketing carried out.
  • For a long time, people will not be comfortable congregating to hold such festivals in person due to the fear of infection with the Coronavirus (Scott 2020). The backup virtual platform will offer an opportunity to share the happenings at the festival with communities who do not attend.
    • Acceptance criteria

The project customer will use various criteria to determine the project’s effectiveness and the achievement of its stated objectives. These criteria are linked to the project deliverables and

  • The execution of the festival with a community of at least 10,000 people in the audience.
  • Completion of the actual event with an attendance of at least 100 performances from musicians and art groups from the Sub-Saharan region.
  • Completion of the project with at least 3 gold sponsors and up to 10 other sponsors, the objective is to reduce the financial risks to all who are willing to participate at any level.
  • Video recordings of the events of the festival to be uploaded on social media and websites for the festival for future reference.
    • Business Case

The decision to engage in this project is motivated by the increasing popularity of music from the Sub-Saharan region as well as the historically attractive cultures of communities living in the region. The Sub-Saharan Music Festival is a fictitious event that would promote the appreciation of the music and cultures domiciled in the Sub-Saharan region, which has not been done explicitly in the past. The customer is an organization that focuses on the promotion of cultures through music, foods, and dressing, in efforts to create a lasting heritage. The festival supports the customer’s business as it will provide an opportunity to create a new perspective about the music and cultures of the Sub-Saharan region and positive outcomes will steer repeat events in the future, which give the customer an opportunity for greater profitability. Thus, the project is essential not only for accomplishing the stated deliverables but also for making an impact in the customer’s business over the long term. The project is expected to take approximately 30 days from planning to the delivery of all the requirements, but its impacts will endure. The total cost expected to be incurred in this project is $ 40,000, which will include costs for venue access and preparation, identification and contact with performers, transportation to the venue, and development of media for the event to be shared with online communities.

  • Customer’s Quality Expectations

The customer of the project has stated various quality expectations in relation to planning and executing the festival. The overriding expectation for this project is that all the deliverables will be accessed within the stated timelines. Additionally, the customer has the following quality expectations:

Performance standards – The key quality expectation for the customer is that the festival will exhibit exemplary performance standards that will be able to attract people to a repeat of the event in the future. Achieving satisfactory performance standards will depend on the identity of key performers invited to the festival and those who actually attend variability of musical and cultural characteristics and the efficiency of stakeholder management.

Technical Details – the customer expects all the technical details of the project to be right, given that some of the content for the festival will be shared online to maximize reach. These details include that which will be shared with potential participants and attendees about the project, those presented in and about shared content, such as the participants’ videos uploaded during the festival.

Audience engagement – The level of customer engagement is also expected to be significant. The quality of engagement with the audience is important because of the high probability of boredom.

  • Stakeholder Analysis

The stakeholders of the project are identified based on various roles and attributes. When planning a project, stakeholders are described as parties with an interest in the project and its outcomes. Additionally, these parties are analyzed and characterized based on various attributes, such as urgency, power, and legitimacy. Each important stakeholder has to possess at least one of the three attributes and, preferably, all the attributes (Serous 2014). For the proposed festival, the stakeholders are varied and have been analyzed based on their probable contributions to the success of the project. Each of the stakeholders will be handled differently depending on their roles towards the success of the festival. For this project, stakeholders have been divided into primary and secondary stakeholders depending on their roles, and the level of risks they take on, an approach recommended by Serous (2014). The stakeholder analysis thus provides a description based on this categorization.

As mentioned, the event has two classes of stakeholders, primary and secondary. The project’s primary stakeholders will include the event sponsors, the customer, attendees, key participants, and the project team. These stakeholders hold the highest risk in the project and will be primarily responsible for its success. The sponsors will be responsible for financing the communication and media development elements of the festival. The key participants will contribute to the media for the narrative videos. The attendees will comprise the target community, while the customer is the individual that contacted the project team to develop and execute plans for the project and has been responsible for developing the idea and its objective. The project team is expected to bring together all the festival elements to realize the desired objectives. The secondary stakeholders will comprise of the communities that may be reached during the stages of initial event set-up but who may not be involved during the actual event. They mostly will constitute the organic connection that will add value to the marketing conducted by the sponsors in the long term.

Stakeholder management will be carried out based on the stakeholder management theory that is a subset of the broader stakeholder theory in project management. The concept states that stakeholders are to be managed differently depending on the value they contribute to a project since it is impossible to equally please all stakeholders (Blackburn 2019). The theory also states that the key element in stakeholder management is communication. Various practices are recommended for stakeholder communication to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved. These practices include engaging in frequent and timely communication with stakeholders, ensuring that the messages for stakeholders are targeted and delivered in a timely manner, considering the probable risks and opportunities associated with each stakeholder, compromising, ensuring that there is a common definition of success, and taking responsibility for one’s actions (Blackburn 2019). For the Sub-Saharan Music Festival, the stakeholder management matrix shown in Figure 1 below indicates the approaches that will be used in handling different stakeholders.


  • Risks

Risk analysis is one of the processes that are considered important throughout the project life cycle. The evaluation is particularly emphasized during key project milestones and is one of the key topics addressed during major project meetings (Lavanya and Malarvizhi 2008). While some risks may be quite apparent from the onset of the project, others only emerge during the actual execution and may jeopardize the achievement of the project goals. At every milestone, the identified risks are recorded in the risk register. Further assessment is performed to determine the probability of occurrence of each risk and the potential impact of the risk in case it occurs.

For the Sub-Saharan music festival project, various risks have been identified. These include no-shows; financing challenges; identification of event sponsors; branding and public image; and safety and security risks. The risk of no-shows is attributed to the present challenges related to COVID-19 and the related travel restrictions. However, this risk can be mitigated by making the event relatively small as a test for the feasibility and the expanding the project scope in later years.

The risk of poor financing from sponsors is attributed to the expectation that the attendance for the activity will below. Potential sponsors are mostly attracted to events based on the expectation of returns from marketing activities that would take place during such events. However, since a Sub-Saharan music festival is a new event and there is no surety of large attendance, potential sponsors may not be willing to give their funds. To mitigate the financial risks, the objective of the project will be to develop a combined online and physical activity aimed at maximizing reach. Social media pages dedicated strictly to the event will be used to reach communities that would not be able to attend, and sponsors convinced of the potential outcomes through the combined effects of media and physical activity. It is expected that individuals who would never attend the physical event would join online communities established under the same project. Whether they eventually attend the festival or not, just joining the community exposes that user to the sponsors’ adverts and increases the possibility of product purchase (Rudder 2020). The risk of low financing from sponsors will be addressed using the described concept to encourage sponsoring organizations to contribute to the festival’s cause.

Other strategies for addressing each of the other risks will be established, depending on the extent of the risk. For instance, the security risks are due to the prevalence of COVID-19 and will be mitigated by sticking to the provided guidelines on infection prevention. Adverse weather events can also pose risks to the project since it will be a physical event. The risk matrix in Figure 2 below shows the classification of the risks associated with the project.




  • Project Plan

The project plan for the Sub-Saharan music festival is as shown in Figure 3 below. The diamond-marked entries indicate the project milestones. The festival is expected to run from the 13th to the 16th of August 2020, as shown in the figure.

Figure 3. Project Gantt Chart


Reference List

Blackburn, M 2019. What is stakeholder theory? Project Manager. Available from: <,the%20outcome%20of%20the%20project.&text=This%20is%20the%20beginning%20of,with%20a%20project%20or%20organization.>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

Hugo, NC and Lacher, RG 2014. Understanding the role of culture and heritage in community festivals: An importance-performance analysis. Journal of Extension, vol. 52, no. 5. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].

Joseph, D 2016. Promoting cultural diversity: African music in Australian teacher education. Australian Journal of Music Education, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 96-109. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].

Lavanya, N and Malarvizhi, T 2008. Risk analysis and management: a vital key to effective project management. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2008—Asia Pacific, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Available from :<>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

NCCPE no date. Festivals. National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].

Peris, GS, Mut-Camacho, M, Franch, EB and Campos, C 2019. Decision factors in the strategy of sports sponsorship in Spain. In Alonso Dos Santos, M (Ed.) Integrated marketing communications, strategies, and tactical operations in sports organizations. IGI-Global. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

Rudder, C 2020. How to plan engaging virtual events. The Enterprises Project. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

Scott, J 2020. The economic, geopolitical and health consequences of covid-19. World Economic Forum. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

Serous, A 2014. Creating and event: Case “Spring festival” in Imatra. Degree Paper, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 13 July 2020].

Thorman, M 2018. Musical traditions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Music in Global America. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].

Torp, C 2017. Missionary education and musical communities in Sub-Saharan colonial Africa. Itinerario, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 235-251. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].

Zhang, CX, Fong, LHN, Li, S-N, and Ly, TP 2019. National identity and cultural festivals in postcolonial destinations. Tourism Management, vol. 73, pp. 94-104. Available from: <>. [Accessed on 22 July 2020].