Wonderland.

7 WONDERS: GIDI CULTURE FESTIVAL

An Easter weekend festival of food, music, art and culture on a strip of Lagos coastline.

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos stages
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos stages

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 music over the sound of sizzling grills and vibrant crowds.

One of the treats of spending Easter in 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

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos food
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos food

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 cold can of beer. But 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

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd singer
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd singer

If the future is now, the young mavericks of the Nigerian music scene should be the first thing you want to see. Whether the artists were 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 Culture Festival in Lagos crowd football
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd football

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. A day of inclusive games for the Gidi Tribe take part in on the beach, and the spectacle of the streets-to-soccer tournament is real 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. Plus, 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

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd dancing
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd dancing

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

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd members
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd members

What are good times without the people you love? Or even worse, what’s an entire Volkswagen Bug finessed in indigenous urban art without your 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. It’s a friendly crowd at Gidi.

6. Lose Yourself

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos tuktuk
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos tuktuk

Gidi Fest is as an escape. It’s literally on the edge of Lagos, away from reminders of your city life. The short drive through Victoria Island, one of the city’s main business districts, presses that point home. But just in case, you get sick of the festival crowds, head into Lagos for a spot of sightseeing.

7. Drip or Drown

Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd
Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos crowd

Padlocks on silver necklaces? Check. Retro t-shirts? Also check. Local urban fashion brands sit seamlessly over shorts made from Dutch wax fabric, or ‘Ankara.’ Everyone looks like they left their inhibitions at home. You can’t pay for that kind of style.

Words
Segun Akande
7 WONDERS: GIDI CULTURE FESTIVAL

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