Make Music Lagos

Elizabeth Dale

Make Music Day is the annual, global celebration of the benefits of making music. Held annually on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice, Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in more than 1,000 cities across 120 countries. Open to everyone, regardless of age or skill level, this daylong event calls for people to pour into their communities and share music with the world. In 2016 Make Music Day activities found another unique home in Lagos Nigeria. Currently, as the only participating location in Africa, Make Music Lagos (MML) has demonstrated significant success with their approach in celebrating Make Music Day. We sat down with a representative of Make Music Lagos’ planning committee and NAMM Member, Showgear Limited’s Chief Operating Officer Adeola Akinyemi to discuss Make Music Lagos.

  • Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos
  • Learn to Play Make Music Lagos
  • Learn to Play Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos

How has the event grown since the first program in 2016?

Make Music Lagos (MML) has grown steadily since the first event. In 2016 we had just three events and about 35 performances. By 2017, the number of concerts increased to 12 with about 120 musicians performing. Also, in 2017, we had the first Mass Appeal event with over 200 artists performing an original piece by renowned producer Wole Oni. In 2018 the event grew to include 21 concert venues with about 200 artists, groups, and bands performing. In addition to the Learn to Play event, street studio, flash mob, we also added the Learn to DJ event which included free DJ equipment giveaways provided by the American based company, ADJ and Showgear. 2018 also introduced a flash mob event at the Ikeja City Mall and Palms Mall in Lagos.

In 2018, we organized a benefit concert in collaboration with Courage Education Foundation and Lavenida Multipurpose event center to raise funds for the education of children. The event was free, but guests were encouraged to sponsor a child. This event was organized during Nigeria's independence celebration and is particularly dear to my heart because of the outcome and ripple effect. We invited some of the children from a government school, who participated in the Learn to Play event in June of the same year, to perform and the foundation offered five of them university scholarships.

This year we are looking forward to more collaboration and we are encouraging stakeholders and the general public to organize/host independent music events. We hope to spread the event across the city and improve participation significantly.

What’s new for Make Music Lagos in 2019?

In previous years, most of the events have been organized by Showgear and the Make Music team, however, this year we are asking people to organize their own event under the MML platform, and the feedback has been great. The new initiative this year include:

  • A one-day song writing camp by The Rtist Hub; a community created by Bez (a popular Nigerian Alternative artist)
  • Music Business Conference organized by the Make Music Lagos team in collaboration with Porch Music Box and geared towards education and empowering young and upcoming artists as well as creating a networking opportunity.

The New Music Marathon: An initiative for radio stations and other media houses to participate in MML by playing new music as well as music that has never before heard on the radio for a full 2-hour period on the Make Music Day. The goal is to give an opportunity to young and up and coming artist to get their music played on Radio/TV for one day with ease. We hope that will generate some opportunities for struggling artists.

What should those who are unfamiliar with Make Music Lagos or the music scene in Lagos know about the community?

The Make Music Lagos community is made of partners and volunteers who work together every year to organize and promote the Make Music Day. We currently have over 50 partners including hosts and resource partners. We also have over 150 volunteers every year. The music community in Lagos is very large and extremely active. We relatively dominate the music industry in Africa, particularly in contemporary music. There are concerts and music activities every weekend and new music hubs spring up regularly. There are also many highly talented people in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. The Make Music Lagos community also includes more than 300 artists who have performed on the Make Music Lagos stages/events. We try to keep the community active by having continuous engagement throughout the year.

How can people in the area get involved? Is there any way those across the globe can help the efforts of Make Music Lagos?

Make Music Lagos is open to everyone. The more the merrier. Locally, people can get involved by:

  • Hosting an event
  • Volunteering with the MML team
  • Sponsoring an event (Particularly the Learn to Play event as we hope to donate music instruments to some of the schools we will be visiting)
  • Provide resource support
  • Attend a Make Music Lagos event
  • Spread the word about MML

Globally, people can help the Make Music Lagos effort by:

  • Promoting the event; sharing our stories and the stories of our artists and participants through media.
  • Providing opportunities for our artists to share their music either through invites to perform or sharing our music on global platforms.
  • Visiting Nigeria to attend our MML events or by joining us online by following @makemusic lagos.
  • Support from NAMM and its partners through giveaways to encourage music and music education.

What should visitors be looking forward to most for this year’s event?

This year's MML is going to be a week-long event from June 16-23, 2019, with more venues spread across the city to ensure that people can participate without having to travel out of their neighborhood. We want everyone to find the music in them and join the celebration however they can.

Is there a place people from across the globe can follow the events of 2019 Make Music Lagos?

We will be updating our social media handles with up to date information on the events (@makemusiclagos). People can also get more information and follow the events from our website. We will be live streaming the events on our Facebook and Instagram pages between June 16-23, 2019.

Where did the inspiration for Make Music Lagos come from?

The inspiration actually came from a NAMM newsletter. I came across the publication on the Make Music Day, and it stirred my interest, so I went to the Make Music Day site and found that Lagos was not a part of the event. This was a bit disappointing because Lagos is definitely a significant music hub in Africa. I then spoke with my team, reached out to the Make Music Alliance team and they encouraged us to organize the first event in 2016. Make Music Lagos owes a debt of gratitude to the organizing team whose efforts ensure a successful event each year. Without the help of Femi Ojo of Impreva International, Suzan Adinoyi of Stylevile, Mosunmola Akinwamide of IPC events, Temisan Ikomi of Alien Nation, Adewale Segunfunmi of Legacy Planet PR Co., and Kenneth Akinfolunrin, Adeola Akinyemi, and Tayo Akinyemi of Showgear none of this would be possible.