An Easter weekend festival of food, music, art and culture on a stretch of Lagos coast.
The best things happen in big, open spaces with the Atlantic on one side and the sand of the beach beneath your feet. You can breathe, to begin with. You can feed your eyes, and if you’re in Afropop town, listen to some music to the sounds of sizzling grills and the vibrant crowd.
One of the pleasures of spending Easter in Lagos is the energy that emanates from nights like the annual Gidi Culture Festival – an Easter weekend festival of food, music, art and culture on a strip of the coast of Lagos.
The festival is a tribute to self-assessments like “Eko For Show” or “See Lagos and Die”. As the biggest cultural hub of the world’s greatest black nation, Lagos has a lot to show.
Here are just seven of these reasons which also prove why the Gidi Fest was the perfect meeting this long weekend …
1. We have the sauce
When you party in the Lagos sun for hours on end, the type of fuel that powers your engines is very important. From the doors, you are offered a can of cold beer. But take your time; there is nothing quite as beautiful as the sight of tables sitting side by side like one of those flamboyant owambe parties – an infamous Lagos dinner that is part of urban folklore.
2. Once for the next generation
If the future is now, the young mavericks of the Nigerian music scene should be the first thing you want to see. Whether artists laugh like Paybac, represent the capital like Psycho YP, or work with an obsessed audience like Tems, the music was like an obvious prophecy of what the best Nigerian music will sound like.
3. From the street to the beach
Gidi Fest is all about the culture surrounding music: the food, style, art and sport that Lagosians indulge in on a daily basis. An inclusive day of games for the Gidi tribe takes place on the beach, and the spectacle of the street-to-football tournament is a real highlight of Culture Fest. You see teams from multiple regions competing for cash prizes as well as the chance to attend the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt this year. Plus, what better way to warm up for a night of real footwork: submit to the beat of the latest viral dance routines.
4. Dance the Zanku
What starts off as an afternoon of future vibes on the Next-Gen stage quickly turns into a chorus of stomping feet and another reminder that Zanku has been Naija’s most famous dance in years. The change of tone and the staggering variety of performers – staples like Patoranking and prodigies like Blaqbonez and Nonso Amadi are the kinds of things that push you to update all of your playlists.
5. Bring the family
What are the good times without the people you love? Or worse yet, what’s an entire Volkswagen Bug refined in native street art without your friend taking those questionable photos of you? What a Teni performance without a brother to sing all those old songs you’re supposed to be too young to know word for word. As I discovered, Windward Cabins are great places to sit with fun people you’ve just met. It’s a friendly crowd in Gidi.
6. Get lost
Gidi Fest is like an escape. It is literally on the edge of Lagos, far from the reminders of your city life. The short drive through Victoria Island, one of the city’s main business districts, makes this point home. But just in case you’re sick of the festival crowds, head to Lagos for sightseeing.
7. Drip or drowning
Padlocks on silver necklaces? To verify. Retro t-shirts? Also check. Local urban fashion brands sit perfectly on shorts in Dutch wax fabric, or “Ankara”. Everyone seems to have left their inhibitions at home. You can’t pay for that kind of style.