This year's Gidi Culture Festival will go down in history as the start of Africa’s beach party Renaissance; partying as an art form, a tool for unification of the continent, and a vehicle to drive tourism, and attract all the good press that Nigeria so desperately needs.
I was a bit sceptical…no, unsure about what to expect from this year’s Gidi Culture Festival. Being in its second edition, as with the natural order of all things, I had in mind to expect progression in the beach festival, you know, a little nicer touch here, a bit of finesse there, nothing special.
But what I got wasn’t progression, it was redefinition and a huge leap into the spectacular.
Sold by the organizers, (Eclipse Live Africa) as “the biggest beach party this side of the Atlantic”, a part of me had wanted to scream at them every time that line popped into my email, or on some commercial. Even when I got complimentary tickets, the cynic in me snickered.
But boy was I wrong. Eclipse Live Africa, headed by the street-and-glitter savvy Chin Okeke, took that word, and ran with it towards perfection.
Performances on the night were drawn from a pool of Nigeria’s best performers, mixed in with a rich vein of Pan-African thrillers.
When you have an event with Vector lyrically ripping the audience with ‘King Kong’, followed by the peace and serenity of the Venus Bush Fires, then followed in succession by the evergreen showmanship of Awilo, the nostalgia of Kelly Handsome, The talents of Isaac Geralds, Ebisan, and Efya, the depth of M.I Abaga, the vibrancy of Temi Dollface and Burna Boy, the exotic flavour of Vanessa Mdee, and in all honesty the comic dissatisfaction thrown in by the Rwandan trio of Urban Boyz, then you made for wholesome entertainment.
The sound system rigged together for this event was flawless. There were numerous functionalities which afforded the artistes ample room for diversifying performance and expressing unfettered artistery. A live band was available for unplugged joy. The DJ’s had a free hand to be more than backups and time-killers. They mattered in their own right. Even the hosts were rotated to effect with the funny (Eddie Kadi), blended in with the popular (Ehiz), the energetic (N6), and the eccentric (Mercy ‘Omo London’).
Entertainment for the guests wasn’t exclusively limited to what was on stage. Corporate sponsorship and rich partnerships ensured that refreshments made for its own form of entertainment. Brands came in with tents for free giveaways, artists with sculptures, figurines, and paintings added aesthetic value, even the sands which invaded our shoes and made guests wobble like penguins, had a gritty feeling of comfort to them.
Gidi Culture this year, wasn’t perfect due to its stellar cast, and engaging activities planned out to create diversity in entertainment. Any man with a formidable financial backing can make the Nigerian stars fall from space onto a well-lit stage. It isn’t exactly the study of rockets.
What Gidi Culture offered was immense thought. Every single aspect was given more than a minute’s thought, which reflected in professional delivery, and which is why it will go down in history as the start of Africa’s beach party Renaissance; partying as an art form, a tool for unification of the continent, and a vehicle to drive tourism, and attract all the good press that Nigeria so desperately needs.
Hopefully, Gidi Culture’s standard wouldn’t be altered to a detrimental effect. Away from the satisfaction, What Chin Okeke, and his diligent band of free-thinking creators has given themselves will be a headache from this thought: ‘How can we improve on perfection?’