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People Say “Is That Coachella? I Didn’t Know They Had Festivals Like That In Africa…”

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Chin Okeke – one of the men behind arguably the most important of Africa’s new breed of music festivals – has spoken of the growing appetite for live music in the last major frontier for the international concert business.

Eclipse Live co-founder Okeke, who established Gidi Culture Festival in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2014, has seen great success with what he calls a festival created “for Africa”, by Africans – but which is also increasingly attracting both patrons and performers from further afield, reflecting broader changes in the African market.

Historically, for touring artists, “Africa was always just a big paycheque,” Okeke tells IQ. “You get in, get your money and get out. It was never about the growth potential.”

That, says Okeke, is changing, owing to a new generation of entrepreneurs who are focused on creating a sustainable touring infrastructure in the emerging African market.

“Ten years ago every promoter had connections to either the government or to big brands,” he explains, “putting on million-dollar shows” for top-level acts – often as a money-laundering exercise – while largely ignoring the building blocks of the industry. “But the new wave is interested in building up the ecosystem.”

Watch a video of the 2018 lineup below.

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Photo: Concaholic