Ake Festival: In an attempt to do better this year and crush procrastination, I began to write about my experiences. If you know me, you know I enjoy the shrill, attention grabbing, on the edge feeling fiction gives but I also love reading people’s real life experiences. That is why I enjoy memoirs and I devour pages on people’s blog. I am a give-what-you-take person, I feel there is someone somewhere like me whose interest is similar. Let’s get to it.
According to Wikipedia, The Aké Arts and Book Festival is an annual literary, cultural and arts event that takes place in Abeokuta, Nigeria but took place in Lagos, Nigeria this year.
REGISTRATION: it was ₦10000 this year and unlike last year, I did not wait for a giveaway. You can actually wait a while, couple of giveaways sprang up later which I know people that benefited from it. I paid online before the close of the online registration.
ACCOMMODATION: It is true that I live in Lagos, Nigeria but we all know Lagos is a country on its own. I actually live far from the festival venue: Radisson Blu Hotel,Ikeja. I shared a room with a friend in another hotel not too far from the venue.
FEEDING: Lagos is expensive and the area the event held is a big place*. Feeding wasn’t as cheap as you’d expect but we survived.
The official date for Ake festival is 25th to 28th of October, 2018. The first day is usually for school visits be workshops. The opening ceremony was slated for the 26th of October , 2018.
Friday, 26th Of October, 2018
My roommate and I decided to go to Ake Festival venue early in order to get our registration properly sorted, so we wouldn’t miss anything but we made the mistake of not having breakfast. In true Nigeria Fashion, the opening ceremony did not start at the expected time, we had to wait for a while. Hunger was dealing generously with me, I couldn’t take it again. I left to eat, on getting back they had gone halfway in the opening ceremony. I was able to catch the Vice President of Nigeria’s story and a couple of other things.
In the opening ceremony, I enjoyed Chibundu Onuzo’s performance. She is a beautiful singer.
The next item on the Ake festival guide was a book chat or film show. FYI, two or three events hold simultaneously, you have to choose. I went for the film show which started late again but I felt really sleepy because I was not well rested. I left the film room after seeing a film for the book chat.
They were few minutes from the end of the book chat; Welcome To Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo and Hold by Michael Donkor. Before we go on, I will like to confess that I have a thing for British accent. I realized that I actually do like it a little bit above average. This has influenced so many things but that is a story for another day. This heavily influenced my choice of attending the panel discussion on The Reality Of Black Britishness over Been-To And Homecoming. I was able to learn new things; the effect of Brexit on race.L-R Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, David Olusoga, Ade Bantu, Diana Evans
At this point in Ake festival, it was way behind schedule so things were not moving at the original pace. I ditched the remaining programme to feed my eye (and eventually buy) at the bookstore.
It was at this point, I did most of the interaction I did for the whole festival. I was able to meet bookstagramers that we had been communicating online. We spent a lot of time at the bookstore. It was awesome.
While at the bookstore, I missed a book chat; Soweto Under The Apricot Tree by Niq Mhiongo and Dance of Jakaranda by Peter Kimani, some film shows, a panel discussion on The Fear Of Queer, a panel discussion on The Future Of Poetry.
After years in the bookstore, I activated my Ake Festival mode, attended a book chat: The Beed Collector by Sefi Atta and Of Women And Frogs by Bisi Adjapon. Sefi Atta was not available but the show went on.
There was also a book chat; Wake Me When I’m gone by Odafe Atogun and The One’s With Purpose by Cynthia Jele. I enjoyed this book chat and even tweeted excerpts from the discussion. I think this book chat came before the one above but anyway.
L-R Cynthia Jele, Isabella Akinseye, Odafe Atogun
The final event for the day was the Concert which started late because it was already leading to that from the beginning. There were performances by Adedeji, ClayrockSu, Sereetsi & The Natives, Brymo and Salawa Abeni. I missed the last two because I had to sort other things out.
The first day of events was welcoming, I felt that familiar air of Ake festival but in a more luxurious way. This post is getting too long, I will have to make another post where I will be discussing events of Saturday and Sunday. I will also share how I feel/felt about the festival in general.
Till next time, WATCH OUT FOR PART TWO!!I don’t think you should do this but welp