NATIVELAND2019 was one of the most publicized shows of this December and held the promise of being heavily attended. It seems everyone saw the crowd coming, except the organizers who chose a small venue, sold expensive tickets and admitted a crowd arguable thrice the original capacity of the Venue; Muri Okunola Park.
I couldn’t attend, because the friend who I was supposed to go with lost the vibe and we decided to go hangout at a bar instead. However, waking up this morning to the sad tales of people who attended NATIVELAND2019 is heartbreaking and depressing, especially because it will serve neither as a a learning curve for future events, nor will anybody be held responsible for it. It will just be business as usual for both Nativeland and other show organizers this December. Sad.
If I had attended NATIVELAND2019, I’d have been seated at the VIP Stage, because at concerts, I’m usually willing to sacrifice a bit of the fun that comes with the regular section for the sanity that should come with being at the VIP Area. I can’t dance to save my life, so I might as well just sit and watch in peace. All I’m trying to say is that, had I attended Nativeland2019, I would have been amongst those who sank with the VIP stage. Yes, the VIP Stage collapsed and everyone who had purchased VIP Tickets at N25,000 fell on their bums. I just hope none of them were seriously injured, but of course, some people were seriously injured in other circumstances like the stampede that ensued later and the beating that security men were meting out to show-goers as captured on camera.
In all fairness to them, the Organizers clearly stated that admission will end by 11pm while there will be a curfew from 1am which meant once you’re at the show until 1am, you won’t be allowed to leave. But the latter is a rule that should have never existed. Show goers are not only free citizens with the right to freedom of movement, they are also paying customers who should never be held to ransom. Well, it seems these rules backfired and while people tried to force their way in and out of the venue, a stampede ensued which led to several injuries, loss of property and violence by overzealous security operatives. Lest I forget, the gate at the main entrance of the venue was also pushed down amidst all of this brouhaha.
Before we talk about how the Organizers handled all of this madness, let’s rewind a bit to when everything was going smoothly. By smoothly, I mean, when the VIP Stage was still intact, the venue was not overcrowded, a melee was yet to ensue and everyone was generally enjoying the show. Well, when everything else was going smoothly, the sound wasn’t, I heard Tems and Joeboy had to leave the stage before their allotted time ran-out due to bad sound. Same bad sound seems to have dominated a good part of the show.
Anyways after all said and done, the Organisers found a genius idea to manage this crisis and guess what it was? They announced that the show was cancelled and people were free to leave, it turned out to be a strategy to get people to leave, so the crowd would reduce. This were people who Nativeland intentionally sold tickets to, knowing fully-well that the show was already overcapacity. The show continued after the venue had reasonably emptied.
I have attended a lot of Nigerian shows, while some like Access Bank’s #BAFEST2019 were awesome and well-planned, #NATIVELAND2019 seems to have conveniently stole the number 1 spot on the list of the worst shows in the past couple of years. The list of mishaps and tragedies are just too much for any other show to come in close.
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