The Experience is a yearly gospel music concert that features renowned gospel music artistes whose music resonates with most people, especially the youth. It is also one of the most-talked-about events due to the calibre of talents featured at the concert and the record-breaking attendance year after year. As a result of these, the event has set itself apart in showcasing the highest standards of excellence in organisation, talent management, technical quality, logistics, branding and even media and communications. Little wonder, a lot of people, participants and observers alike, have very high expectations that it lives up to this reputation with a different strategy to go a notch higher in excellence, yearly.
As a first-timer at the concert, I also had very high expectations due to the hype by frequent attendees from previous editions. However, I left the concert with mixed feelings due to some observations which I believe the conveners should urgently pay attention to:
The security personnel were not fully alive to their responsibilities. As much as the event has been positioned to be one for both believers and non-believers of the faith, participants should at least be guaranteed of the safety of their personal belongings. Many attendees were dispossessed of their valuables by touts lurking around the premises. Only those who had VIP tickets and tags were catered to whilst the rest of us left to our fate at the mercy of street urchins who were on duty to steal, pilfer and harass young women especially.
To provide a well-rounded experience, some of the artists should be reconsidered whilst others should be given the same amount of time as the so-called favourites. For instance, the likes of Sammy Okposo and Don Moen are allotted more time to render old songs whilst Kenny Black was not allowed more time to entertain a hungry crowd. Ministrations like those of Sinach, Glowreeyah and Onos; marked by lower energy levels may be considered in the same time band. If the agenda is not well managed – chunking out the speeches and perhaps, exhortation too; the event will soon record long sessions of boring audiences and sleepy participants.
Some areas within the premises were not managed properly to accommodate more seats so people were sitting and sleeping on the floor. This also gave more room for others to loiter around during the concert.
The routes available for entrance and exit into and from the venue were poorly manned. In spite of leaving about two hours to the end of the event, I was a victim of a stampede. As it is typical of events, a number of participants set out earlier in order to safely depart without the rush which happens at the end, yet I did not escape this. It appears many of us did not make the often-smart decision this time.
All in all, The Experience remains a wonderful platform and the conveners must ensure that the standard of excellence is not shortly a recent memory. Nonetheless, I look forward to participating in the next edition from the comfort of my living room.