What’s so Special About October in Nigeria’s Culture Calendar?

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Now that October has finally ended, it is a perfectly good time to ask: what is so special about that month?

October in Nigeria’s culture calendar will go down as the busiest one, crammed with activities – mostly in Lagos – promoting Nigeria’s (and Africa’s) cultural sector, such that it appears as if there are no other months available for these events to take place.

And it is not just that the events are spread across the month of October. No, all these events take place towards the end of October, sometimes spilling over into November.

Some of Africa’s biggest cultural events held last month include the Ake Arts and Books Festival, Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Africa Movie Academy Awards, the Lagos International Poetry Festival, and Lagos Photo Festival.

Each event as important as the other.

One might hazard an open-ended guess as to why but there is no obvious reason why all these events must hold within the same period.

This is problematic as it doesn’t give much space for arts and culture enthusiasts to fully participate in each event, to absolve and devote energy to each event without distractions.

It is needless to point out that interest in cultural products often converge, that a person can be simultaneously interested in books and photography while still interested in fashion and film. The beauty of the arts is in its interconnections, in how one medium feeds into another or offer interpretations.

To then, intentionally or unintentionally, hold several events that run along the same interest line is to force guests to choose or lose out, create an information overflow and, unfortunately, lose out on the much-desired media buzz an event could have generated if it wasn’t overshadowed by other competing interests and narratives.

In future, perhaps, event organisers would do well to research and strategically date their events, critically considering factors like geography, marketing and publicity, related events and guest convenience.

For the culture, please.

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