From stunning white masquerades at Eyo to the week-long festival held in honor of the river goddess, Oshun, Nigeria is home to some of Africa’s greatest festivals. Each year, locals and tourists from neighboring countries and abroad, flock to events across the continent to witness and participate in festivals that showcase the religious history, music, art, indigenous folklore and cultural heritage of the nation.
While these festivals, of course, celebrate tradition, heritage and the rich history of the people through colorful attires, artistic expositions, and intriguing traditional rites, they also mean good times for performers, visitors and local businesses. Among the largest is the Calabar carnival which usually features as many as 50,000 costumed participants and attracted more than 2 million spectators last year. In what seems to be almost a decade, Nigeria has witnessed a consistent growth in the festival business and Jumia Travel gives five reasons for this.
Festivals mean big business for locals. From cultural to music festivals, these events form an important income stream for local communities and the host regions. They not only bring people together and get infrastructure built, they create jobs and if executed rightly, local businesses are at the center of the creation of these types of events. With the increasing business opportunities for the events organizations and local businesses, there has been a sort of revolution in festivals in the commercial aspect.
Sponsors are now paying millions to brand festivals. Initially, festivals were done on low key, especially cultural festivals. However, today awareness for such events is now done on a large scale. From billboards, radio jingles and even ticket sales, a lot of strategies are now put in place to create massive awareness and captivate the target audience. These new strategies being adopted are made possible because sponsors and advertisers are willing to spend millions of dollars to target what they know is a truly captive audience. With donations from Telecoms such as MTN, GLO and AIRTEL to companies such as Indomie, UAC, Dangote and NGOs, festival sponsorship spending has been growing exponentially over the last couple of years, consequently leading to a boom in the Nigerian festival business.
Technology and Social Media Buzz.
Technology has played a huge role in the boom of the festival industry in Nigeria. In addition to the fact that there have been advances in data gathering and analysis as well as wireless technology which have vastly improved how these festivals are planned and managed, Social Media has played a huge role in the marketing and promotions, as fans build communities online flood their social media feeds with photos, videos and posts highlighting festival fashion, top performances and more; sharing their excitement far and wide. The publicity and social media buzz drive help inspire others to attend these festivals, leading to a significant growth in the festivals business.
The media coverage of these events has played a huge role in shaping the way these events are seen not just within the country, but around the world as it is hard to tell how many millions of people see it. The minds of these people who get to read about these events in the media and watch them on television are automatically shaped to envision the events as an avenue for fun. This propels them to plan, attend and invest in future events.
Millennials Are Driving Attendance.
It is no secret that Millennials in Nigeria, who make up a large percentage of the population, would trade almost anything for the thrill of an experience, especially shareable, personalized experiences. These festivals feature everything that appeals to them, from music, alcohol, highly-shareable moments and a community of fans to a break from the hustle and so they are keen on driving. Their involvement in different aspects (including buying festival tickets, attending festivals e.t.c) has directly or indirectly also led to a growth in the country’s festival business.