Mr Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture.
The Lagos State Government has released the 2019 calendar of arts, culture and entertainment events, an annual listing meant to guide local and foreign tourists as well as journalists and the general public into the rich cultural content on offer in the state.
The Calendar which is on the state website and in print form contains more than 80 events that are either state sponsored or simply endorsed and supported by the Lagos State Government.
In a press statement issued on Sunday by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Abosede Adelaja, the Calendar is “designed to front-load major state-sponsored and privately-driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive impact on tourism promotion and the creative economy.
The release of the Calendar follows the initiative that started in 2018 in which major arts and tourism-promoting events expected in the state throughout the year are announced in January to aid planning.
This year’s calendar is rich in entertainment events all year round especially in April and the last quarter of the year leading to December. Also, different festivals like Eebi Epe; Kayokayo; Agboremireke; Egungun; Ikorodu Oga and Zangbeto festival dot the Calendar all through tbe year.
Like in 2018, Ali Baba’s January 1 Comedy Concert kick-starts the listing while other events like the Prof. Akin Euba Symposium and Concert; Wazobia FM Carnival, Dance Gathering by Q Dance Company, British-Council powered Lagos Dance Festival as well as the Lagos Marathon listed in January and February.
On the Calendar, the state intends to celebrate both the World Theatre Day on March 27th and World Dance Day in April while also listing the iRep Documentary Festival and the Eko Film Festival among its first quarter programming.
“This novel idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes commenced in 2018 to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public,” according to Adelaja; adding that last year’s calendar assisted the state in projecting many of its events with inherent benefits that made the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over visitors.
Adelaja said: “The state has enjoyed a considerable increase in 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, she explained, will be updated periodically online in order to accommodare more events whenever organisers bring such to the attention of government.
The state is expected to leverage on infrastructural development, regeneration of old and creation of iconic 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 huge spendings being recorded across the tourism and entertainment value-chain in the state is a testimony to the huge economic gain in promoting tourism in Lagos.This and other economic factors make Lagos one of the most vibrant and culturally active cities in Africa with potentials to make enormous impact in driving in-bound tourists from across the globe,” she said.
Other major events listed in the calendar include Gidi Culture Festivsl, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival and the Arise Fashion Show around the Easter Period. Also listed are the International Jazz Day celebration on April 30; the Lagos Comedy Festival on May 5 and the Lagos Film Fest scheduled to be hosted at the Eko Theatres in Epe, Badagry, Opebi and Igando. The African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) is listed to return to Lagos in June while the Lagos Festival of Plays and the Lagos Poetry Festival highlight the third quarter of the year. Others are the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki and West Africa’s leading tourism market fair, the Akwaaba Travel Market which will hold at Eko Convention Centre in September.
October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with MUSON Festival; Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF); Felabration; Lagos Books & Arts Festival (LABAF) as well as the One Lagos Fiesta are listed.
“The State is grateful to corporate sponsors who make many of these events possible and to stakeholders in tour, aviation, events and hospitality sub-sector who add value to tourism,” she said.