14 December 2018

Nigeria: December Concerts in Lagos - Protect Yourself

The air feels different in Lagos. The streets are crawling with the Christmas revellers who joined flights from around the globe to this city, where they will chase an entire spectrum of entertainment for the holidays. They will indulge in all the city has to offer.

Most will wake up to mornings, filled with hangover headaches, puffy cheeks, and a faint recollection of what went down the previous night.

Where are they likely to have much of that fun? Concerts, of course.

Concerts are a major attraction in Lagos. The previous week, Simi packed hundreds of people in a hall and gave them equal measures of happiness and love.

By the time you read this article, all the tickets to shows like Adekunle Gold, Mayorkun and Wande Coal would have moved from sales portals, into scrambling private pockets and emails. And then the countdown begins.

Day becomes night, the dark becomes light, and the calendars keep ticking away. Bringing everyone closer to uniting under the art.

Lagos is regarded as the hub of African music. And while there are other music cities in Africa that try to contest this claim, December shuts them down.

The sheer amount of party options cripples even the most turnt of holidaymakers. The city opens her heart and pours out abundant goodies.

Left, right and center, it smacks us with all that music love. I mean, on the December 14, Adekunle Gold, Mayorkun and Wande Coal all have scheduled concerts.

Three shining stars will rule one. Guess what? All will be sold out. People would flock to their venues. They would scramble for the choice spots and celebrate their favorite artists. It's how it works for this season.

Do you know how privileged you are to be surrounded by strangers who share one confirmed common interest in the music? All of you, humans with different stories, with diverse life-paths, decide individually to voluntary leave your private spaces, hand your money in, and share a space.

It's called love. Love for the art. Love for sound. Love for the happy feeling that music inspires.

The music welcomes you all, requests that you drop your life's burden, and for this fleeting period, be happy and celebrate.

It tells you that you belong. And as you dance to the rhythm, side by side with people who you might never meet again in your life, you feel the connection of brotherhood. You slowly transform into siblings. Sonic Siblings.

I am a veteran of Christmas in Lagos. Having spent a couple of years chasing this circuit and covering it extensively, the one thing I can say everyone should be wary about at any concert is the safety of their personal properties.

Phones are the hottest commodities on the black market during this period. Every spectacle attracts all kinds of people; the good ones who just want to have a great time, and the bad guys looking to commit a crime.

Last year, a very common sight at these concert venues was the crying and confused people who had just lost their phones. Look out for them outside concert venues. You can't miss agony when you see it.

One of the girls I saw described how her phone got lost at a Wizkid concert last year.

After enduring lots of opening performers, she wasn't keen, until Wizkid came on stage. Starboy ordered for the barricades to be brought down because he wanted to "Feel his people (fans)."

As the metal barricades were brought down, this lady raced to the front of the stage. During her flight to touch the helm of Wizkid's garment, someone snatched her phone in the crowd.

Wizkid still performed his set, and his people yelled back in appreciation. But for that lady, all of that didn't matter anymore. Wizkid won't replace her stolen prized possession. Wizkid is not her father.

At Davido's concert, I watched a lady cry out in a sweet British accent: "Someone's got my phone!"

The person did not return it. It was 'gotten' for life.

I once lost a phone too at a Mr Eazi concert. But I was lucky that it was an iPhone, and it was practically useless to whoever stole it. It got returned. My luck was intact.

If it were to be another less secure brand, it would be displayed in a street corner the next day, and sold for a 10th of its value.

Protect yourselves too. You have no business exploring the external surroundings of concert grounds during the show. You are not the security. You should be secured.

Ensure to stay within the confines of the venue, and at the peak of the night, never step outside that enclosed perimeter. The negative stories from these concerts are too dark to share in detail here. Protect yourself.

Hopefully, one day, bad guys will respect the art enough to not ruin what is a sacred experience for lovers of the music.

Perhaps we will have a time when thieves would have a modicum of honour in their lives. Perhaps, one day, stealing will become extinct. But that day won't be in this December.

So, be your watchdog. You can't be too careful. The aim is to leave home, have fun, and return, with both self and property intact.

The only allowed post-concert change should be the glow in your heart from all that fun.

Enjoy the concerts! Protect yourself.

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