For many years, die hard fans of Afrobeat and culture enthusiasts have come in thousands to watch and experience the annual Felabration festival in Lagos state Nigeria, and this year was no different. A-list celebrities head lined shows on different days filling up the Shrine and the entire street to the brim. Adekunle Gold reminisced on how he used to be a start up act at this very festival years ago, and years after he is headlining his own show at the same Felabration festival.
“Music is a weapon of the future / music is the weapon of the progressives / music is the weapon of the givers of life”
But the last day was just surreal. It was filled with love, and a necessary carelessness that one was allowed at least once a year. The first thing that made the event a special one was of course the unveiling of a 25 ft statue of Fela at the Allen roundabout in Ikeja, Lagos state. One that reminded you of what Fela was, is, and will continue to be in the history of Africa and the world at large.
The streets were parked, with over 88 African shrine “police guards” controlling the traffic and parking. SARS officials making sure there was zero to no criminal behavior while they also took in the rare madness that came through.
People from all works of life coming together for the culture. Some of which reminds you of the characters from Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto, while others looked like they were all about the music and the freedom.
The Shows within the show
Although the main Shrine was totally filled up, every corner of the street had their own party. From live performances by low key Yoruba Fuji musicians, to live Apala bands (yes! We are talking of the drums and all that stuff), to some other groups who just wanted to listen to modern day Afro beat over a plate of noodles, overly spiced pepper soup,and a bottle of Guinness or gin. What was evident was that everyone came to have fun.
“That is my best friend because it is a gift of the creator to Africans. It is a spirit. Marijuana has five fingers of creation…it enhances all your five senses.”
The whiff of the legal greens was one strong enough to make you sky high even though you didn’t take a drag. Strangers willing to share their blunt and vendors offering to crush and roll in as quick as 3 minutes. What made this event so much fun amidst the madness was that everyone came together to let loose and experience life from a whole different angle. Which is something Fela used to root for while he was alive, togetherness irrespective of social and religious barriers.
“The secret of life is to have no fear.”
Even those who just came to have a feel of what Felabration is all about, will be sure to let you know that it is almost nothing like you have ever seen before. An in-explainable experience worth being a part of at some point in life. Let’s not forget to take a moment to appreciate the beauty that was Wizkid x Femi Kuti’s performance to mark the end of this years Felabration.