Jazz festival will put Lagos on world tourism map – Ambode

Right – left: Ambode; Grammy-winning jazz artiste, Kirk Whalum; Nigerian singer, Yinka Davies, and Brand Strategist, Runway Jazz, Ajani Sandridge during a courtesy visit to the governor

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday expressed optimism that the activities lined up for the forthcoming Lagos International Jazz Day will go a long way to showcase the tourism potential of the state to the world.

Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja when he played host to some of the groups collaborating with the government on the forthcoming star-studded concert to commemorate the 2016 International Jazz Day, said apart from being the financial and commercial hub of Nigeria, his administration will work hard to equally transform the state to the tourism hub of Africa.

He restated his administration’s strong commitment to use tourism, hospitality, sports, entertainment and arts to grow the economy of the state.

He said: “We want to emulate and even surpass the International Jazz Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, and then be on the world stage and that is the significance of this collaboration that we have decided to go into.

“During the electioneering campaign, we did promise that we will use entertainment and arts, tourism and sports to propel Lagos to the next level and this is one of the ways through which we hope to achieve that. We want to use entertainment to grow our economy, create jobs for the people and create that global picture of what Lagos is and what Lagos is not.

“Like you are all aware, Lagos is the financial and commercial hub of Nigeria and we want to be the tourism hub of Africa and we are going to use the jazz family to start that journey and that is why we are hosting the concert here at the Lagos House.”

The groups on the courtesy visit included the Lagos International Jazz Festival Group, Runway Jazz and Satchmo Jazz.

Earlier, leader of the delegation and Chief Executive Director of Inspiro Productions, Mr. Ayoola Sadare, said jazz had gone beyond just music to become a veritable instrument that can be used to grow the economy if properly managed.

He said the South African government generated over a billion rand from the Cape Town Jazz Festival, and that Lagos could do better if properly managed.

Sadare, however, appreciated Ambode for showing genuine interest in the Jazz Festival, especially with the massive concert billed to take place at the Lagos House on April 30.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde had earlier declared the readiness of the state government to successfully organise the concert.

Ayorinde, while addressing a press briefing on the festival, recalled the success recorded with the One Lagos Fiesta, a countdown music and entertainment show used to usher in the New Year 2016 which was held simultaneously in five locations across the state for the first time, and said the Jazz Festival was equally designed to give a quantum leap to the tourism potential of the state.

The commissioner said: “On Saturday April 30, the Governor is hosting An Evening of Jazz at the State House in Ikeja. It will be an exclusive but colourful evening to identify with UNESCO initiative, welcome an array of Nigerian Jazz musicians to perform at the State House and to share the warm hospitality of Lagos State with the Jazz community.”

Some of the artistes billed to perform at the concert, according to Ayorinde, are Dare Art-Alade, Yinka Davies, Lekan Babalola (two-time co-Grammy winner) with the Eko Brass Band and Herbert Kunle Ajayi.