By Ozoro Opute
INSPIRO Productions, organisers of Nigeria’s premier and most popular jazz festival – Lagos International Jazz Festival, has struck partnership with SloweGanzi USA, GQ Acoustics, Zome International to celebrate Lagos Global Afrobeat Kulture Festival (Lagos GAKFEST 2022). The festival is part of the ever-expanding and global standing of Afrobeat music founded and popularised by the legendary Fela Anikulapo. The theme for the maiden festival is ‘Harnessing the Creative Economy for Youth Empowerment and National Development.’
Founder and Festival Director, Mr. Ayoola Sadare, in a statement, said, “Lagos is Afrobeat capital of the world and since it is also one of the fastest growing music genres currently on the global scene, it is imperative that the city hosts a festival worthy of showcasing that status. From a tourism point of view, people want to know where the Lagos mentioned in many Afrobeat hit songs is and visit same. For example, quite recently it was part of the title of Wizkid’s global awards winning Made in Lagos album. Afrobeat is to Lagos, Nigeria, what Kingston, Jamaica, and New Orleans, Louisiana, US, are to reggae and jazz respectively, and many music aficionados are attracted to those cities. December is chosen to kick off GAKFEST 2022 because it’s the year end and also the holiday season when a lot of travelling takes place and people would have the opportunity to attend the event.”
The statement further added, “Although Afrobeat is also now played by many other pop musicians in other African countries, even as its pioneers and trailblazers are undoubtedly Nigerians with Lagos being the bastion of Afrobeat with over 80% of its proponents residing in the city. Starting from Lagos, the music has moved to the African continent and exploded globally in places like London, the US and is rapidly spreading to other parts of the globe. GAKFEST is planned as a multi-city touring event to showcase the genre in these other cities.
“Our technical partners, SloweGanzi USA, led by GAKFEST Executive Vice Chairman, Mr. Wole Akande is an integral to making this happen. Afrobeat artistes are fast gaining recognition and reshaping the sound and texture of pop music globally by winning global awards like the Grammy, BET and others. They are also touring globally, selling out at never before done venues like the London 02, Paris Accor, Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl, New York’s Madison Square Garden, among others. This phenomenal rise is so evident that the Grammys recently announced that the genre is being considered for a category at the influential annual musical award. It’s undoubtedly Afrobeat Moment and we plan to also showcase it in our city!”
The statement concluded by adding that Global Afrobeat Kulture Festival is part of a multi-city, multi-sound touring music festival designed to serve visitors and Lagos’s residents and other major cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam and a few US cities the world class entertainment the genre offers.
Venue, artistes and programme for Lagos GAKFEST 2022 will be unveiled in a few weeks.