By Jimoh Babatunde
The Lagos State Govern-ment has released a calendar of over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes slated for the rest of this year in its bid to garner visibility for tourism-oriented art programmes.
The novel exercise, according to a release signed by the State’s Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, is designed to frontload public and privately driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive impact on tourism and the image of Lagos as an arts-friendly state.
“This initiative is in fulfilment of the State Government’s promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourists and visitors’ decisions,” he stated.
According to Ayorinde, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, kick-started the year with his attendance at Ali Baba’s January 1st Comedy concert at Eko Hotel.
The idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes, is to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public.
The calendar is part of the state’s innovative intervention to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos, which makes the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over passers-by.
The commissioner said, “the state is forging ahead in expanding the consumption of its tourism products by improving access to tourism information and creating an events guide for the media and tour bloggers.”
Although not exhaustive, the calendar contains most of the well-known indigenous cultural festivals across the state, entertainment events; concerts; visual and performing arts as well as fashion and culinary events.
The state is expected to leverage on its continous infrastructural development, regeneration and creation of iconic monuments snd attractions for entertainment, arts and culture enthusiasts to boost economic activities and expand opportunities for job creation during the various events slated on the calendar.
“The administration of Governor Ambode believes that the quantum of cash transactions across the tourism and entertainment value-chain, as tracked in December 2017 when about N50 billion was spent on entertainment and leisure alone, is a testimony to the huge economic gain that exists in promoting tourism in Lagos State.
This and other economic factors make Lagos one of the most vibrant and culturally significant cities in Africa with potentials to make enormous impact in driving in-bound tourists from across the globe.
Major events listed in the calendar include Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival around the Easter period; the International Jazz Day celebration on April 30 which will be dedicated to the South-African Jazz legend, Hugh Masekela; the Lagos Comedy Festival (incorporating Lagos Laughs on World Laughter Day) on May 6 and the Eko Art Expo in the last weekend in May.
June will be rich with the first ever Lagos Golf Funfair and the Lagos Cinefest, which is designed to take cinema-going experience to all the five divisions of the state.
The Lagos Festival of Plays is a major highlight in the third quarter of the year; so is the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki; Akwaaba Travel Market and Faaji Agba – a special concert for the elderly to mark World Elders Day.
October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with Olokun Festival; MUSON Festival; AFRIMA, AFRIFF; Kayo-Kayo Festival in Epe;and the Lagos Luxury Summit/Fair among others.