7 WONDERS OF GIDI CULTURAL FEST
Escape for a day of music and culture at Lagos' Easter Beach Festival
The best things happen in large, open spaces with the Atlantic on one side and beach sand beneath your feet. You can breathe, for starters. You get to feed your eyes, and if you’re in the city of Afropop, hear the music over the sound of sizzling grills and chatty 20-something-year-olds.
One of the Easter treats of experiencing Lagos is the energy that comes out on nights like the annual Gidi Culture Festival – an Easter weekend festival of food, music, art, and culture on a strip of Lagos coastline.
The festival is a tribute to self-appraisals like “Eko For Show” or “See Lagos and Die”. As the biggest cultural hub in the biggest black nation on earth, Lagos has a lot to show off.
Here are just seven of those reasons that also prove why Gidi Fest was this perfect turn-up this long weekend…
1. We Got the Sauce
When you’re partying in the Lagos sun for hours, what sort of fuel powers your engines is very important. From the gates you’re offered a very helpful cold can of beer. Then, of your own volition, you’ll probably work your way through an array of garnished spirits. Once you come alive till the wee hours of the morning, there are enough quick eats to stay powered up; a thick wrap begging to be eaten, fried pasta or chicken straight off the grill. Take your time; there’s nothing as beautiful as the sight of tables sitting side-by-side like one of those flamboyant owambe parties – an infamous Lagos dinner celebration that is the stuff of urban folklore.
2. One Time For The Next-Gen
If the future is now, the young mavericks of the Nigerian music scene should be the first thing you want to see when you’re done here. The eager music of the next-gen was on stage in the brighter hours of the day; which would have seemed certain to keep people in their sheds and cabanas. Except that’s not how this clique is proving their case. Whether having a few laughs like Paybac, repping for the capital like Psycho YP or working a fixated audience like Tems, the music was like an obvious prophecy of what Nigerian’s best music will sound like.
3. From the Streets to the Beach
Gidi Fest is all about the culture surrounding the music, the food, the style the art and sport that Lagosians indulge in on a day to day basis. With a day of inclusive games for the Gidi Tribe take part in on the beach, the spectacle of the streets to soccer tournament is really a highlight of the Culture Fest. You see teams from several local areas compete for cash prizes as well as the chance to attend the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt this year, what better way to warm up for a night of real leg work; submitting to the rhythm of the latest viral dance routines.
4. Dance the Zanku
What begins as an afternoon of future vibes on the Next Gen stage quickly morphs into a chorus of stomping feet and another reminder that the Zanku is the most famous dance coming out of Naija in years. The switch in tone and the staggering variety of performers – staples like Patoranking and wunderkinder like Blaqbonez and Nonso Amadi is the kind of stuff that drives you to update all your playlists.
5. Bring The Fam
What are the best times without the people you love? Or even worse, what’s an entire Volkswagen Bug finessed in indigenous urban art without your equally weird friend to take these questionable pictures of you? What’s a Teni performance without a brother to sing along to all those old songs you’re supposed to be too young to know word-for-word. Cabanas in the wind are great places to sit with fun people you only just met too, as I found out.
6. Don't Stress, Access
You don’t want to go to a festival and lose consciousness trying to figure your way around or find change for our absurdly high bills. You don’t need guides for anything here – from the gates, the next-gen stage calls out to you like an anxious acquaintance. Finding the main-stage on the other end of a walkway lined by all your guilty pleasures is quite the feeling. You didn’t go to a festival to take long walks. You came for the fun. Don’t overthink. Don’t stress.
When you first think about spending the day out, the obvious choice you’ve made to surrender yourself to Lagos for yet another day hits you. That’s why Gidi Fest works best as an escape. It’s literally on the edge of Lagos, away from reminders of your daily routine. The short drive through Victoria Island, one of the city’s main business districts, presses that point home. But just in case, you forget there’s enough drip on sight to remind you.
7. Drip or Drown
Padlocks on silver necklaces? Check. Self-designed retro t-shirts? Check. Local urban fashion brands sat cooperatively over shorts made from Dutch wax fabric, or ‘Ankara’ if you know. Everyone looks like they left their anxieties at home. You can’t pay for that kind of style.