By Abdullahi Fawale.
Congratulations, Ibadan! The most anticipated entertainment project of the year, The Ibadan Countdown Festival (IBCF) 2016 is afloat!
I literally snuck into Agodi Gardens yesterday to do stuff absolutely unrelated to the birth of this review. But, it was the opening concert for the first ever countdown festival in Ibadan and it is only expected that someone does this.
First off, let's take a moment to appreciate the planning committee for the Ibadan Countdown Festival. This is a laudable initiative, and from the looks of it, A LOT has been done to put things in the right perspective. If you've been following the movement on social media, you must have been brought up-to-date with the daily schedules and line-up for performances. Plus, local media in the city had for the past few weeks, been flooded with special interviews and messages from the festival's PR team. Major roads in the city have also been adorned with huge billboards and roadside banners all bearing the IBCF gospel.
Have I mentioned how befitting the selected venue is? Agodi Gardens isn't just a garden. Apparently, it is THE garden. This could be just me, but I really like it there.
Now, let’s talk about the Opening Concert. It is worthy to note that every act scheduled to perform at the event came through. Yes, 2Baba and 9ice took centre stage last night where some of their most loved songs were performed. Keanzo, as always, gave a brilliant performance just as the likes of Fabulous Pizzy, Sheun Natural, Oyinkanade (and other artistes on the line-up) brought the juice. Interestingly, upcoming acts were also afforded the opportunity to showcase their talent and they didn’t disappoint.
This review would be incomplete without sounding off on the VIP arrangement at the opening concert. It is safe to assume that the pool area at the gardens, due to its sophistication, was set aside to house VIP guests at the concert. This is understandable, putting into consideration, how much it costs to secure a table. However, sighting the stage, which was strategically set-up at the center of the Gardens would have proven difficult for viewers at the VIP section if some tables had been occupied all through the concert. This could have been avoided if the stage was either raised a little higher or moved closer to the pool area.
Even with that, guests at the VIP section were given quite the treat. They were first attended to by some corporate ushers and then led to their seats through a carpeted passageway designed with lanterns and monochrome coloured chiffons. The arrangements and decor were synonymous to what could be found at a grand socialite wedding. It was indeed beautiful. I managed to take a couple selfies when I was certain no one was looking. But that's not why we're here.
Agodi Gardens was lit up really well last night. This was particularly appreciated as navigating through the crowd was made easier. You could say who was who without having to strain your eyes more than necessary or stare into random faces in an effort to confirm who they were. Stalls were also put in place to cater to the needs of attendees. You couldn’t go hungry - except you wanted to.
The event was hosted by comedian, Lafup, who in the spirit of Christmas, channeled the inner Santa by giving out free regular tickets to his show slated for 26th December. You can read about that here: https://www.instagram.com/lafuplive/
Ibadan has got to turn up more though. I wouldn’t say the turn-out was poor at the opening concert but it wasn’t as massive as I had envisaged it to be. The Ibadan Countdown Festival was created for Ibadan by Ibadan and it is only expected that her people show up en-masse to support the initiative. Well, it’s not over yet, the festival continues with a wide range of activities cutting across different professional and social niches. So, let’s regard the opening concert as a warm-up event. Hopefully, following events would witness huge turn-outs.
At any rate, the opening concert scores high points as regards preparation and organization. Again, that is laudable. I look forward to bringing you more reviews about the festival. In the meantime, use the link below to see photos and short clips from the opening concert.
Thanks for reading!