The organisers of the National Festival of Unity on Friday said eminent Nigerian musicians such as Chief Ebenezer Obey, Sir Shina Peters, Mike Okri and Yinka Davies would grace its 2021 edition.
The host and General Manager of the National Theatre, Prof. Sunday Ododo, named other musicians to be on stage to include Stella Monye, Kola Ogunkoya and Dayo Kujore.
He said the musicians would be on hand to mentor and give guidance on live band entertainment.
Ododo said the Festival of Unity tagged “Thrillerbandz@theater” with the theme entitled: ”Enduring Optimism” is a collaboration between the National Theatre and Evergreen Music Company and would be held from December 10 to December 12.
“The second National Festival of Unity is particularly apt this period of time for us as management of this place, for Nigerians and indeed the entire world.
“We have remained optimistic and that is why we have seen (opportunities) where others might have seen insurmountable challenges.
“We have kept the theatre alive so much that a lot of people wonder at the paradox of the National Theatre being busier now that the complex is locked for renovations than before.
“We have held a series of programmes such as staff trainings, round table engagements with industry stakeholders and corporate partners and other activities,” he said.
Ododo maintained that not minding the challenges confronting the complex, the management had put up courage to forge on and accomplish its mandate.
“This year’s National Festival of Unity will be bigger, bolder, and richer, as we have more time to crystalise the vision, engage more people from the entertainment space and got positive feedbacks.
“There are state art councils are awaiting our invites, while Lagos State Council of Arts and Culture has volunteered to come in as a principal partner.
“On the menu for the grand event, we have music exhibition, dance, drama, comedy, street carnival and more,” he said.
The Special Adviser on Arts and Culture to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Solomon Bonu, said the state saw the need to support the event given its mandate as an avenue to engage the youth.
“Lagos State Government will always identify with things that will have positive impact on its youths hence we are proud to be associated with this event.
“We will always support things that will be beneficial to the youth and help them grow, we have seen many positives in this programme,” he said.
One of the main partners, Evergreen Musical Company, through its Managing Director, Bimbo Esho, noted that the National Festival of Unity was important to the music industry.
“The primary objective of the programme is to showcase the important aspect of our musical heritage for development into a viable cultural product.
“It is to ginger our local musicians who perform gigs at several entertainment rendezvous that dot the national landscape to up their ante.
“The initiative is to boost the composition of meaningful lyrics and lively songs, quality dance styles, stage appeal as well as excellent performance to delight music patrons even beyond Nigeria.
“It is a fact that the entertainment industry is one of sub-groups of our economy defying the recession and meltdown,” he said.
Esho disclosed that the 2021 edition of the National Festival of Unity would be laced with several side attractions that would delight Nigerians.
“As major stakeholders in the development of Nigerian culture, we are duty bound to inspire the expansion and improvement and grow our burgeoning music and entertainment industry, as well as the economy.
“With the competition, where outstanding performers shall win laurel, fantastic cash prizes and musical instruments, many talents shall also be exposed to the record labels.
“No fewer than 50 live bands are expected to showcase their talents to thrill and dazzle the audience and African music aficionados in a relaxed environment.
“We promise an enchanting 12 hours back-to-back session of delights to the audience on the days of the event,” he said.
Event Compere Yinka Davies said she was delighted to be back in the public space after the unfortunate death of her son.
“My fans all over the world should expect something big coming out from me this time after a long period of inactivity,” she said.
The National Festival of Unity is a brain child of the National Theater management under the leadership of Prof. Sunday Ododo.