Featured image of Ake festival experience

My Ake Festival experience (1)

Attending Ake

Attending Ake Festival

As a child I had so many dreams and wishes, I wished to travel to America, I really wanted to get my hair dyed, I wished to dance to a song by Jennifer Lopez with her on Live Stage (I was mad about her music, trust me).

Most importantly, I wished to have the brain, craziness and manner of verbalization of Professor Wole Soyinka (I think I have made this obvious to my friends and readers so many times).

Sometimes you don’t actually understand what you are wishing for. Here’s a link to a post on watching one of his plays live at the arts theatre, University of Ibadan.

So I lay here in my room at 5pm on Wednesday 23/10/19, counting down to the hours of the festival and preparing my mind for the giant outrage of culture and diversity awaiting me at Mike Adenuga’s Centre (Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, Lagos) tomorrow.

Featured image of Ake festival experience

Thursday 24/10/19 7:30AM
Lace dresses are for inaugurations or formal events (says the voice inside my head), but mama’s going to wear it anyway! So, in other to get myself fully prepared for any form of atmosphere, I put on a short sleeve lace dress made by Tash Apparel, simple ballerina flats and a matching headband to vibe with all the positive energy I was already giving off. Nothing prepared me for what was going to come after…

Venue: Pinterest makes me imagine what Paris looks like and its simple and exquisite, just like everything I imagined Mike Adenuga Centre to look like (btw, it was named after Mike Adenuga cause he financed the reconstruction of the Institute and it’s a very beautiful place to have your name pasted boldly in front of).

Walking In: So, first of all, I located the picture positions and the poses that would accompany them (because, why not?).

Even as I walked towards the unit facing the direction of the gate, vaguely taking in the environment and whiteness I was not so used to (in this Lagos), everything was uncomfortably calm. There was really no sign of Ake. Nothing, absolutely nothing, gave off the cultural festivity I was supposed to be here for.

Eric kaiser, alliance Franciase
I walked into Eric Kayser – a pastry shop inside the institute, the first unit facing the gate. I took a seat humbly  and took pictures, trying to focus my camera on the signage that read “a bit of Paris in Lagos” , written in English and French in both directions.

Eventually, a group of guys showed up (with festival shirts) and begun arranging media equipment for the fest and also, sterling bank’s team already started set up. I was relieved, right venue, check.

A bit of Paris in Lagos
I met Ib outside the café/pastry shop just to breathe whilst the set up was going on, and the coffee machine was brewing away my patience and composure.

I was pretty unsettled, I guess she sensed it.

She asked if I was waiting for the workshop, I wasn’t sure, I didn’t get an email like she did.

So then I  pretty much listened to her explaining that “I couldn’t attend the workshop if I didn’t pay the amount she paid” and I needn’t be here till 6pm.

I checked the time now, 8:15am, squirming in my dress, my eyes darted to the gate, a group of volunteers were coming in, they notice my gaze, so I turn back to Ib.

She says;
“I don’t think you can stay that long, can you just go back home?
I hesitated.
“Where do you live?” She asks, worried.
I just explained that I’ll be off to my sisters’ office at Lekki, and just before we finalized meeting later by 6pm, she was called up for her workshop by one of the volunteers.

A call came through. I walked away.

Tip no 1: figure out all the details about your event,  before reaching the venue. I actually mistook the workshops for school visits written in the programme on the website and thought that they would be available to everyone.

Victoria in the art exhibition room

Next blog post on my festival experience (2) would be uploaded shortly!💃

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With love,

Victoria Olajide.

#akefest #akefest19 #blackbodiesgreymatter #TheVictoriaO #Toriesblog

 

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