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A December without usual ‘dettiness’

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Detty Decmber

December 2020 is here but not with the usual buzz the month is associated with, especially the popular trend ‘Detty December’, which is used to mean spending December in a vivacious way.

Not only a vibe, but it’s also a month-long mood with hoards of events, particularly gigs in Lasgidi as Lagos has come to be known among urbane trendsetters.

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In the past years, the month was ushered in with the hashtag #DettyDecember. Last year, there was a rave around what the budget for the season looks like, as most netizens (Twitter users) tweeted about their plans to go wild in the month.

The term ‘Detty December’ was coined a couple of years ago by Banku music pioneer and Afropop star, Oluwatosin Ajibade, who is popularly known by his stage name, Mr. Eazi.

It is expected that after working from January through to December, there is the need to unwind and unleash the dance moves practised all year long. But that cannot be actualised, as 2020 has been a challenging one. No thanks Coronavirus (COVID-19) that made its disastrous entry in December 2019.

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The outbreak of the pandemic constituted various challenges in different sectors and resulted in the total shutdown of global economies including that of Nigeria. Beyond ravaging the world economy, it claimed lives, led to the loss of employment and opportunity, and restricted movements.

In the entertainment sector, many things were shelved as that part of the world continues to reel from the effects of COVID-19. The outbreak of the pandemic caught the Nigerian entertainment industry unaware and thus put it to a standstill.

Activities like tours, live performances, shows, and album releases were postponed or even canceled and conversations have largely remained on virtual platforms. This had a serious negative economic impact on the industry.

Pop singer and superstar, Davido earlier in the year announced the postponement of his highly publicised tour of North America and Canada tagged A Good Time Tour, which was scheduled for March/April this year.

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Also, Afro-Soul singer Bukola Elemide, popularly known as Asa, was said to have canceled her Lucid tours in Europe, which were billed to hold in London in March. The Nigerian legs of the tour, which was scheduled to hold at the Eko Convention Centre Lagos on April 11, and at the Congress Hall, Transcop Hilton Abuja, on April 13, were equally postponed.

Brymo’s Blasphemy Live Concert, which was supposed to be held at the Terra Kulture Lagos, was canceled, just as the Sinach Live Concert billed for Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on March 22 was not left out in the mix. This was a total slump in revenue generation for the organisers.

In the comedy industry, ace-comedian Francis Agoda, who is better known as I Go, Dye, was another victim, as he postponed his 25th Anniversary show, which was billed for Easter Sunday, April 12. The veteran comedian took to his social media handles to announce the cancellation.

“This period calls for concern and sober reflection, it’s a moment of trying times. I cannot be celebrating now, as cases of coronavirus disease continue to be identified in many countries; I feel for those affected globally. For the sake of my fans, brothers, sisters, and all those kept in isolation globally, because of coronavirus, I share their pain and I and my partner @Primeview_lable have decided to postpone this celebration,” he wrote at the time.

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On Tuesday, November 30, the leading information service for the global music industry, Music Business Worldwide (MBW), reported that event giant, Live Nation has suffered a $7 billion loss to COVID-19 and will further slash costs by $900 million across the course of the year.

According to the information service provider, in Q3 2020, which ended September 30, Live Nation generated revenues of $184 million, marking a 95 per cent year-over-year decline compared with the $3.77 billion it generated in Q3 2019 from concerts, ticketing, and sponsorship.

In its third-quarter (Q3) filing, the firm told investors: “We estimate the lost revenue impact from the global COVID-19 pandemic in the third quarter and first nine months of 2020 to be approximately $3.7 billion and $7.0 billion, respectively.”

In what may be considered worthy news for shareholders, the global live entertainment firm also revealed that: “A total of 5.2 million tickets were refunded in the third quarter (Q3), amounting to just slightly over $500 million of gross transaction value and a total of 23.3 million tickets have been refunded year-to-date, amounting to nearly $2.3 billion of the gross transaction value.”

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The Nigerian music industry is regarded as the heart of afro-beats, especially since it became a tourist destination for many music enthusiasts courtesy of its recorded outputs, live entertainment, and culture.

Live music is believed to ignite passion and in a bid to express that passion, many attendees of musical concerts and comedy shows are unlikely to follow anti-COVID-19 protocol even if governments give its nod for these shows to hold. Laws of social distancing and limited contact will greatly be eroded.

With a total of 67,557 cases in Nigeria, out of which 22,562 is attributed to Lagos, the city with the nation’s entertainment pulse, the Government is faced with the uphill task of convincing a large pool of Nigerian youths about the deadly nature of COVID-19.

As a result, these concerts and shows, which are a source of income for artists and comedians, have remained in limbo, as these live events are said to heighten the tendency of spreading the coronavirus.

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This challenge has hampered the annual ocean of festivities that these edgy youths have tagged, ‘Detty December.’ In past years, December 1 came with numerous pieces on a ‘Guide to Detty December Events.’

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, urban Lagos-based Christian centre and organisers of the annual free gospel music concert, The Experience (commonly known as The Experience Lagos), House On The Rock, have declared that this year’s event, the 15th edition will be virtual.

Regarded as Africa’s largest gospel carnival, the event, which usually holds at Tafawa Balewa Square, will not be live this year.

“The digital footprints of The Experience concerts have been huge but this year, it will truly be unparalleled. Get ready for an all-virtual, fully Global #TE15G with great gospel artists from across the globe. #ShareThis, tag friends and don’t miss #TEGlobalEdition,” a tweet from the church Twitter handle @houseontherock read.

With all that has happened this year, from lockdown to EndSARS and the protracted ASUU strike, among other challenges, Nigerian youths no doubt need the Detty December gigs to unwind. However, the silence from the uncertainty has been deafening as nobody can give the status of the usual ‘Detty December’ shows.

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