For a musical event organised on a Monday evening in the bustling Lagos metropolis, the turnout was impressive. Could this have been attributed to the massive hype the event had received from several radio stations a few days before, the very affordable entry fee to the event, what the occasion represented, the public holiday next day or a combination of all these factors and more?
The 10th anniversary of the Lagos International Jazz Festival – Nigeria’s premier jazz festival held on International Jazz Day, Monday, April 30 and dedicated to the international jazz icon Hugh Masekela who recently passed on was certainly a resounding success and an event to be remembered for a long time.
This year’s edition though the 10th anniversary and compared to previous years was limited to one stage and one day, the performances nonetheless qualitative. The A-list lineup which included Jazz vocalist Gloria Ibru, Afrobeat Sensation Dede Mabiakwu, The eclectic and very spiritual Bright Gain, ‘King of Sax’-Mike Aremu, Mystical Orliam, Zestful Damilare Sax, The versatile Sharp Band, Sensational bassist Wole Jesutomi, Jazz crooner Seun Beckley and a host of others at the different times mounted the stage from when the performances began at 7pm till shortly before midnight at arts and culture hotspot, Freedom Park.
The audience lapped up every bit of the performances in the open air ambiance blessed with clement weather and typical of similar jazz festivals held in various parts of the world. It was also under this ambiance that special guests of honour and dignitaries like the South African Consul General to Nigeria, Darkey Africa and his German counterpart, Ingo Herbert sat together and even danced when the occasion demanded.
It was after all a celebration of life and a tribute to the African jazz icon Hugh Masekela and he deserved the dance when one of his popular tracks was played for a moment. This was after the SA consul general’s goodwill speech and observance of a minute silence for Masekela. As the performances flowed so did the brief intermittent speeches but these were all well managed by the deft and capable anchorman Sam Uche Anyamele who ensured that with the event stage managers everything was well orchestrated to produce an outstanding event. The almost flawless sound was another observation by all who attended the event.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde was in attendance with a delegation from his ministry, which included the special adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism Mrs. Aramide Giwason and several directors. Sovereign Trust Insurance (STI) PLC, which has been a committed supporter of the festival from inception, was also well represented by its head of Brand Communications, Segun Bankole and his team. Jahman Anikulapo a leading arts and culture advocate was also there to lend his support to the festival as it marked its 10th anniversary.
Speaking to Journalists at the event, LIJF founder and festival director Ayoola Sadare said, “We are thankful to God for this event and the opportunity to mark the 10th anniversary of the Lagos International Jazz Festival on International Jazz Day, though we had a few challenges in the years we couldn’t host it, we are back on track to ensure it’s a continuous yearly arts and culture fiesta in the city of Lagos. The opportunity to also honour Hugh Masekela is not lost on us. As the father of African jazz he deserves all the accolades he got both alive and on his passing. We are also grateful for the support we have got over the years we got from the media, musicians, producers and many more. Our commitment still remains to make Lagos one of the leading Jazz destinations in the world”.