The popular One Lagos Fiesta, which used to entertain Lagosians and visitors for good eight days across five venues during the yuletide season will not happen this year.
Instead, the Governor Babajide Sanwoolu-led government has rebranded the concept into a leaner, one-day event that will hold only on December 31.
The event for this year is now tagged Greater Lagos Festival, picking its identity from Sanwoolu’s main campaign tag-line – Greater Lagos.
Sources within Alausa say at the moment the details of how the Greater Lagos Festival will be organised is still sketchy. But an official promotional clip from the government on Friday morning gives a hint that the main thrust of the festival will be the crossover night display of fireworks and a “first of its kind drone show” at the Eko Atlantic venue for the Victoria Island zone.
A source close to the seat of government told TCN that the Eko Atlantic end of the festival, where the governor and most cabinet members are expected to attend, is fairly concluded to have a concert, fireworks display and the drone show, with food courts within the premises.
But the shape of what to expect at the other venues in Ikeja, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry are still being fleshed out along the possibilities of a few road shows before the main cross-over night concert.
The One Lagos Fiesta under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode was designed as an improvement over his predecessor’s Lagos Countdown show, which held only at the Bar Beach in Victorial Island on Dececmer 31 to celebrate the arrival of the new year.
The OLF started in December 2015 as a five-day spectacular show across the five IBILE divisions in Lagos State in line with Ambode’s promise of inclusive government and the need to develop the creative industry capacity in areas like Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry, which hitherto had no major end-of-the-year event that spanned several days.
Following the success of the maiden edition in 2015, the fiesta was expanded to be held eight days across the five venues the following year to become Africa’s biggest end-of-the-year open-concert show with 40 musical concerts across five venues simultaneously, commencing from Christmas eve, December 24th and lasting till the wee hours of the new year.
That template was sustained in 2017 and 2018 as well to give Lagosians their most memorable yuletide celebrations ever.
The first official hint of a scaled-down festival this year was given in October by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Sanu, while delivering a goodwill message at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) at Landmark Events Centre.
At the ceremony, he had promised Lagosians “an exceptional display of fireworks” to celebrate the end of the year.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Diaspora and Foreign Relations, Mr. Jermaine Sanwoolu, said last month that the fiesta had been rebranded as GLF in order to give it a new image that identifies it with the new governor and current administration.
A one-day festival on December 31st therefore eliminates the 40-concert template, drops the Lagos Grows Talent component of the fiesta which gave opportunities to young, fresh talents to be discovered across the state and also knocks out the Kiddies’ Section, where children play and are entertained from morning till 6pm free of charge before the main concert starts each day of the fiesta, across the five venues.
By far the biggest disappointment, however, will be the loss of activities and revenues to local traders, artisans and budding artistes especially in Babadry, Epe and Ikorodu whose sustenance for the last few months of the outgoing year and first months of the new year had depended largely on the proceeds of their sales from the eight days of OLF in the last three years.
However, a reliable source told TCN that Governor Sanwoolu should be commended for not totally jettisoning the idea of an end-of-the-year show.
“You know this is his first year and things are still a bit rough. You should understand that OLF was one of Ambode’s biggest successes and the new governor will also want to stamp his own identity on the project, knowing he cannot afford to drop the ball as far as entertainment and tourism are concerned. Rather than see what has happened as a diversion, please let’s see it as continuity with a slight variation.
Afterall you can see that Governor Sanwoolu is still running with the brilliant initiative of ‘Ready. Set. Work’ in the Education Ministry, among others, which is also an Ambode initiative.
“I think by next year, the new concept would have been fully formed and every part of Lagos can return to the benefits they derived during OLF,” the source said.