Exclusive Interview With The Convener Of “AMFEST EXPO Lagos 2018” At #StarsConnect

The “AMFEST EXPO” LAGOS 2018 is a 5-day Business-2-business event packed with Conferences, Showcase Festivals and Exhibitions. It is the largest creative business networking platform in Africa and has taken up the responsibility of expanding Africa’s creativity economy into the global market.

The goal of AMFEST EXPO is to organise the African creative industry, build a bridge between her practitioners and the global business ecosystems, to foster growth in culture and business exchange among all stakeholders.

And today, we have the convener of the event Mr. Kayode Adebayo to tell us more about AMFEST…


Read the whole interview below:

You are welcome to StarsConnect Network, which is a Subsidiary of Jetheights Services. Stars Connect network is a programme that brings together entrepreneurs, business owners, inspirational speakers, pastors, and leaders in the society, upcoming artistes, NGOs, people giving back to the society and the world at large. We conduct interview sessions to find out everything we can about their journey to stardom, we hope to bring together stars who can be of benefit to one another and who can synergize with Jetheights in other to impact the community. Once again you are welcome to StarsConnect.


Q: First of all, thank you for gracing this wonderful occasion. So, quickly, lets gist about AMFEST. I know that this has been a dream for a while, can you tell us a little bit about why AMFEST and how long have you nursed this idea.


Well, we started to think about AMFEST 3 years ago, and the idea came out of the need to see the Nigeria that we feel that has outgrown Africa, to get more into the international space, and to start to play as a real global market, especially in the areas of artistic, culture, and the entertainment industries. We felt that Nigeria had products, talents, and skills that had become ripe enough for global consumption and we always found out that there was always that trifling. We were so very interested in that “we are 180 million people” and we feel Nigeria could do far more, because quickly, in a very few short years, Nigeria out grew Nigeria, and entered into the 1.2 billion people market of Africa. We wanted a situation where a Nigerian culture and arts practitioner would play in a 6 billion people market, and not just a 1.2 billion market. That’s where the dream came from basically.

L-R. The CEO of Jetheights Services, Mr. Ayo Alex Alao with the Convener of AMFEST EXPO Lagos, Mr. Kayode Adebayo

Q: So, when you talk about culture, arts, and all that, what are the sectors you’re trying to target with AMFEST?


Basically, we are looking at the music first, because when you look at the word AMFEST, it means African Music Festival And Culture Expo, so first, the music, and after the music, we look at the film industry; which we all know Nigeria is the second largest movie industry in the world. We are looking at fashion; which Nigeria is very good at, we are also looking at the food because we believe that the Nigerian Diaspora has grown economically over the last 10 years, and the idea right now is that why should a Nigerian go to a corner stall to go and eat his own traditional food when he can get it in a four or five star restaurant just like you have the Chinese food, and so on. Also, we looked at creative arts, we know how brilliant Nigerians are from the visual arts point of view, from the photography to the painting and all that; you see what Laolu Sebanjo is doing, by putting Beyonce on the African route. So basically, we feel those that have been patronizing African arts for a while now, have been seeing the value in African creativity, and the technology. Now, how do industries market, communicate and brand themselves. Because they can’t do anything without technology. So, these industries include Fashion, Food, Film, Creative Arts, and Technology.


Q: But, looking at AMFEST, and the timing of it, why now? Why are you considering this season, this period?


I would answer you, by saying why not now? It’s been a long time coming for Africa, and I don’t think there has been any time in the modern day African calendar that it’s been as good as been an African as now. Basically, it is because of some interesting economic appreciation for Africa from a global perspective. We know how it has been, a lot of immigration has happened from the African native, we go out into the world for many reasons; Economic improvement, Education (which Africans are very particular about), and over the past fifteen years, a lot of people have after school grown economically, and have some interesting financial capacities right now. And the reality of it is that these people who traveled out of their continent, they went with their culture. Maybe at that time, it was not the most fanciful thing to put the culture out there, but right now, they have that capacity to be able to showcase it; you see people wanting to name their children, they do it the traditional way, you see people wanting to dress for occasions by putting on African attires, just to show solidarity to the continent. So, there is a buying power right now for African art, entertainment and culture in the wider perspective. So this is just about the right time.


Q: What would you say about Lagos, why have you chosen to have the maiden edition of AMFEST in Lagos? Does Lagos have any role to play in African culture and entertainment in Africa?


Well, Lagos, for me in Africa, is like the New York of the United States. Lagos happens to be a meeting place for all cultures. Now, we seem to have people coming in from outside Nigeria, all converging to be able to pursue some level of improved life for themselves. Although, this is the maiden edition of AMFEST; we’ve had other regional participations that we have put together. There was this countdown festival that we were part of, as the media handlers, and we also worked as the producers of the event, which we had in 2016-17. As interesting as it was from a regional point of view, we saw how it was and we were like “what if this was done in Lagos?” Imagine the numbers of people that will come to the event, imagine the level of capacity, especially in the area of the human resources that we will have on that platform. And the Economic aspect of things also, because we have to pay for a lot of things, and basically if you don’t put it in a place where people can afford to do things, and to want to be part of the platform, either from advertising, marketing and all that, then it would have just been something you will do and go home, and end up in debt.


Q: Now, that takes us to what I would call the economic viability of culture, arts and entertainment in a place like Africa. We know exactly what’s going on in Asia, and we can see what they are doing in those areas, we know what’s going on in Europe, U.S, how they value their arts, their history, their culture, and they’ve shown that to the entire world, even in form of religion, and mode of dressing and so on. But talking about Africa, what’s the economic viability of arts, culture and the entertainment industry in Africa.


I can relate Africa easily to Asia, especially if you look at it from culture similarities, population and so on. The only difference is that Asia came at a time, very recently into its economic blossom. But when you look at the records, you will know that somehow, it is Africa’s turn. So, economic viability, Africa was the beginning of everything, everything started from Africa. There are evidences; archeological evidences everywhere, that the first human came from Africa. And when you look at civilization, the Egyptian civilization permeated into the whole world. So, the fact that we lost it for a little while, and now, the circle is turning back to us, I think there is no better time to create an economy out of what we have as culture and entertainment than now. We have a unique culture, a unique lifestyle, we dress differently, we move differently. Our ideas in artistic representation are different, the tone of our voice is different, and our style of music is different. So, why not have that uniqueness? And that is what we are trying to do. Africa is ripe, Africa is big, Africa is great, Africa has been great, Africa is becoming great again, and we believe that that’s where the economy will be.


Q: Let’s talk about what the vision is; what’s the vision for AMFEST?


Well, the vision for AMFEST is basically simple. We want to have something that is pre-dominantly African, which is international standard, and drives global patronage. If you have things like festival that brings people from all over the world every year, showcasing our arts and cultures to them; then Africa would be great again. And that’s what we want to have in Africa. We want the tide to turn and do something that will attract people to our great continent and patronise us. And then, when we are looking at the resource people, we made sure that we put together a very interesting list of them; that was done pre-dominantly together with our partners; the world music expo people. I want to applaud Christine Semba for doing so much, especially in that aspect. We are bringing people from Brazil, China and U.S.A. The idea for us is to identify those big markets that can become very much of an advantage to the African professional and practitioner, and see how we can get the key people and influencers in those economies to be part of what we are doing, so that we can start that whole relational strategy that can get Africa to melt into all those big markets. You can imagine the numbers that we can do as African practitioners if we start to have partnerships with China and Brazil, that means touring for our artistes for example and merchandising, a lot of things will start to happen, and it will happen just because we have the network to be able to ride on to deliver on those. I believe this is a very good time for the practitioners of arts, culture and entertainment in Africa.



Q: I understand that this idea is so big, you can’t do it alone. Who are the strategic partners, sponsors, conveners of AMFEST 2018?


When we say partners, we have a lot of them right now. Especially in the area of barter exchange, that is coming for us to be able to deliver a world class event. The idea pre-dominantly was created by Kayode Adebayo Media Africa, but right now, we have sponsors which one of them is DAWN Commission (Development Agenda for Western Nigeria); they’ve been fantastic, through their network, they were able to bring in six state governments of the south-western Nigeria into this event. Also, we have Jetheights Services Ltd, they’ve been a fantastic strategic partner, especially in putting different ideas together on how to approach this at the very best way possible, especially from the local relational point of view, and then we have Gold drop incorporated. I really want to appreciate Mr Yemi Falusi; a director in Gold drop incorporated, United States. He has been fantastic in pulling together the strings, the whole liaison process between all the various economies and all partners; he has been the pivotal in making sure that the relationship is smooth. We have Best Western Hotel that has thrown a lot of weight behind making sure that the people that will be coming from the international space are comfortable, making sure they have logistics to be able to convey them to the event and back, we have a lot of them. Basically, our focus this year has not been about making money, it has been about making sure the platform gives you an exchange of visibility or gives you activation opportunity to be able to showcase yourself for the five-day event.

L-R. The CEO of Jetheights Services, Mr. Ayo Alex Alao exchanging pleasantries with the Convener of AMFEST EXPO Lagos, Mr. Kayode Adebayo

Q: What’s the plan for the next 5-10 years?


For the next 5-10 years, one of the things we want to do is to make sure that we have a fantastic 2018, which will serve as an open door for so many things to happen. Because the moment the whole international community comes and they feel very comfortable and warm about what they experienced on the platform, you can imagine the review it will bring internationally, and the moment the local partners are comfortable with what they experienced on the AMFEST platform either in activation, or visibility, you can imagine what that would do to the Nigerian economy. So, in the next 2-3 years, we want more and more resource people to come from all over the world and literally hand-over what they have as platforms to the African practitioner and professionals to be able to ride-on. So, just as the U.S enjoys a global platform when they do anything creative, we want Africa; especially Nigeria to start to enjoy that, and the only way it can happen is to have a fantastic 2018. From there, the growth process continues. And we hope to have the data of nearly all the African professionals and practitioners in all these industries so that we can have opportunities to be able to support their career growth and help them leverage other markets. That’s what will really make us feel that we have fulfilled.


Q: Have there been any support with regards to other celebrities in Africa?


Yes, right now, we have almost sixteen (16) AMFEST ambassadors from all over Africa. We have as-far-as the francophone countries like Cote d’ivoire and Gabon. We’ve reached out to some French platforms to come onboard as communication partners so as to have smooth communication. Some celebrities from the Anglophones countries like Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana are also not left out of this great event. So, it’s kind of like a rep your country situation with AMFEST.


Q: Let’s talk about the venue, where exactly are you holding this event, and what other channels are you engaging to make sure that AMFEST is properly delivered at that world-class Terminal.


Well, we are having the AMFEST Expo Lagos 2018 at The Landmark Event Centre, Oniru, Lagos, Nigeria. The venue was specifically chosen for the purpose of a capacity like this, it sits on the street of a beach, which for me is just entertainment; and it’s enough in the area of it being a little bit away from the area of mainstream, Victoria Island. So basically, we are looking at almost like 3-4 channels, having conferences for different industries for the five (5) days. We are looking at a trade-fair that will run for four days; Day 1-4, and then we have the entertainment activations in the evening, where we can have beach parties for almost like five days back-to-back. So basically, its business, mainstream and entertainment; just to let your head down, have fun, get to know people and start to drive business conversations even after the AMFEST event.


Q: Let’s talk about trade-floors, and how businesses can interact a little bit more, cause I would want to know for example, If I was going to buy into this as someone from the private sector, if I’m running a business, for example probably in the arts industry, how can I benefit from this event?


There are so many opportunities, and it was created specifically for that purpose. For there to be opportunities for all sectors; either private or public. First, is the visibility, we are projecting close to fifty thousand people to attend the AMFEST expo; regionally, we have done twenty eight thousand. The advantages that we have on this platform, the venue itself creates opportunities dues to the space it holds, where people can place a lot of their wares, services and brands in different locations. We are also looking at the activation opportunities also. For example, it would become a testing ground for a new brands, where brands interact with each other and the press; be it local or international.


Q: What should be the expectations of foreign attendees?


Foreign attendants should look forward to an invitation probably 800 billion dollar culture, arts and entertainment industry. So, for those we are inviting, this is an opportunity for you to come into a space where you will probably enjoy such figures if you properly permeate into the industry and position yourself well. And these are not just figures that we are throwing around, we can look at what the entertainment industry has been doing, despite the fact that it’s not organized. So, we are looking at a lot of trading exchanges, service deployment, human capacity, development possibility, merchandising and production. It’s a kick-start of an industry that can possibly blossom into an 800 billion dollar market in the next ten to twelve years.


Q: You were talking about trainings, trainings for people in the informal sector. What’s your plan for them? Who are your target markets in the informal sector?


Part of CSR for AMFEST as a platform and an organization is to train twenty thousand people, either aspiring entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurs to be able to leverage on new media techniques, sell and market their businesses. Trainings will include modules around legal understanding of what that industry holds, especially participating in the international market, modules too will be in the area of understanding opportunities generally that are out there, that you can position yourself for. The idea is to also see a possibility of funding nothing less than a hundred (100) businesses after the training.

L-R. The CEO of Jetheights Services, Mr. Ayo Alex Alao exchanging pleasantries with the Convener of AMFEST EXPO Lagos, Mr. Kayode Adebayo

Q: What are the other things apart from all these you think we should look forward to?


Well, you should look forward to growing your business, as a practitioner, or a professional, because you are going to meet the best there is in your area of business, on this platform; not only locally, but internationally and globally also. You should expect a lot of intellectual discussions; look forward to a lot of solutions, taking the best selfies, meeting and having conversations with the most interesting and the brightest minds, and having the best parties. I can say AMFEST Lagos Expo 2018 will be the largest summer party in Lagos this year. Five beach parties, back-to-back, the best Deejays from Asia, Europe and Africa. Dj jimmy-jatt is leading an army of deejays from Nigeria for this event. We want to thank the president of the Nigerian Association of Deejays, Mr Tade for supporting this platform. We want everybody to get ready for a game changing new movement that’s going to empower the African professionals.


Q: How can we contact or interact with AMFEST and get information about what you’re doing currently?


You can visit our website we are also on all social media platforms @amfestexpo, we are also developing an app, which will be ready by June, and the idea is that we want an app that can fully interact directly with the web which will bring all news and day-to-day information about AMFEST to your phone.


Written by PH

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