At fela shrine for felabration
At Fela shrine for felabration
I went to visit Fela!

The much anticipated Felabration 2018, which held at the renowned Fela Shrine from October 15 – 21 has come and gone, but the stories never end. It is on this note I bring to you my Felabration experience. 

The New Afrika/ Fela’s shrine located at off Hakeem Balogun Street in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

At Fela shrine for felabration
Jessica Fortunes at Felabration.

By now, you already know the event was filled with all your favorite artists in attendance, there was live music, dance and generally, it was a fun-filled atmosphere. But what you don’t know is, Fela Shrine is not a place for the lighthearted. Then how did I end up there, right? 

Call me a naive young girl looking for adventure, and sought after it at Fela Shrine. Didn’t I hear stories? Of course, I did but I wanted to experience it and experience it, I did! 

Hold on, let me take this from the beginning, yeah, it begins here!

I was at the Fela Shrine on Friday, 19th of Oct. with boo(if you don’t know what that means, that’s on you! Lolz), at about 8 pm. Let me add that he wasn’t in support of my adventure to the shrine. But well, he was stuck with crazy me, lolz. 

At the Fela shrine for felabration.
I didn’t go to the shrine alone… boo was here too
At the fela shrine for felabration.
Why is he pouting? … anyway, this was before the crisis.

After having to deal with what seemed like never-ending traffic at the junction leading to the shrine and finally getting a place to park the car, we were in! 
My first surprise, the event had all sorts of security officers you could think of, police, army and all the likes manning corners. That should have been a warning sign but still, we proceeded. 

Ah, let me mention, they also had Fela Shrine Police. These are special kinds, not your regular uniform police, definitely not the type you would go to for directions. These ones held sticks, with a face looking stoned from …, you know what I mean? 

You could hear them shouting “Tuwale Baba” “you dey craze ni” and all sorts. They are not ones to be offended and so we obeyed and as much as possible avoided them. 

At every event there are the VIPs and the Regulars, this wasn’t different at Felabration. Well, we joined the regular, why? Maybe because it was free or because we didn’t even know where to go for tickets or because we were directed by the Shrine Police to join the queue and the queue we joined. 

Then I had the biggest shock of the day, weed was sold freely at the Fela Shrine, how? I still don’t understand. With all the armed forces, I didn’t see anyone getting arrested for selling or smoking weed. 

At fela shrine for felabration
our dinner for the night…

I know people buy and sell weed, but that was my first time to see it sold openly with everyone moving like it was pure water sold along the streets of Lagos. I was taught that it was an offense in Nigeria, right? Well, not in the shrine. 

Even if I didn’t mention this before, the security at the shrine was tight, but it still didn’t stop me from hanging my bag across my neck. No, it wasn’t a cross-bag, it was a handbag but I was more comfortable seeing my bag in front of me. 
That way, the risk of someone dragging my bag was less, I wasn’t about to be used as a scapegoat. 

Sorry, we are still in the queue, it wasn’t a straight and orderly queue but thankfully we made it to the end without much stress. We were searched before entry into the shrine, this was good.

At fela shrine for felabration
Jessica and Fela

I notice a place for pictures, as you would expect, I took pictures and posted for my IG, FB and WhatsApp Fam who still didn’t believe I was at the Shrine. Moving further, there was merchandise with Fela inscribed on them for sale but I wasn’t interested, so I kept moving.

Made it to the stage, hold on! As close to the stage as I could get, which really wasn’t close at all but all the same, I could see the stage, while still wondering what the excitement about Fela Shrine was, cause I wasn’t excited.
I was choking, the air in the shrine seemed different, the heat was not from this planet, still, the crowd was massive. What am I missing? Is there still another shrine? Am I the only feeling weird? 

I had to confirm from boo if I was ok, apparently, I was. Then I am thinking, maybe this place isn’t meant for “ajebo’s “ like me, but no, I saw some fine, ‘ajebolistic’ individuals enjoying the shrine.

How did they get here? I wondered. I couldn’t take it again, “boo, let’s go, am about to faint,” I said, “Is that all? Ain’t you enjoying the shrine” he said sarcastically. 

Fuming I marched out, this nigga is joking, I thought.

Finally, outside the shrine, I did another scan of my environment and then it dawns on me, outside the shrine was another shrine in itself.

Here, there was food, all kinds, drinks, all sorts, in fact everything in surplus. There were tables set like it was a VIP section, with traders beckoning for guests to come sit and enjoy the event.
Couples could be seen sitting, eating, dancing and doing what couples do, I, of course, am smiling and wondering if they came to the shrine for a date.

I and boo were different, we were there on an excursion. We found a place to sit, ordered for food and watched as others enjoyed the shrine. No, we didn’t dance or do anything you are thinking. We are children of God, lolz.

 Another thing I noticed was, as the night drew nearer, rather than people leave the shrine for their homes, the crowd tripled. I still wondered what was happening but there was no one to ask, so I kept wondering.

Soon we were ready to leave but no way! Everywhere was blocked, people were shouting, no idea why, but some guys could be seen holding their sticks high in the air as if to hit someone. 

Now I am confused and scared as hell, on the verge of shouting “my mummy oh”. So I clinch to boo as if to say “chase them away” but he was just as confused as I was. 

It was one thing to know the cause of a thing and know how to attack it but we didn’t know anything. It seemed like everyone in the shrine had gone mad at the same time. 

Shoutings here and there for no cogent reason, people moving and pushing us right, left and center. At this point my hand were wrapped around my chest, protecting my bag, with boo asking me to stay close but of course, I ain’t going anywhere, I thought.

While still confused, we saw people with their hands up, as if on punishment, some shrine police shouting in Yoruba “your two hands up”, but why? I wondered, as I raised my hands and explained to boo what they were saying since he didn’t understand Yoruba. 

Now I am almost peeping on my body, but I can’t complain as I was the inventor of the whole plan in the first place. I steal a glance at boo and he isn’t even smiling, silently I start to say a prayer, “God protect and guide us, I promise never to come here again, I promise to abide by your words”, I can’t remember all but I prayed fervently.

the calm before the storm

Hands still up, we see a moving queue, no idea where they were headed but anywhere was better than standing at a spot, so, we moved. 

While moving, someone spilled a drink on my white shirt, of course, I am angry and expecting a sorry at the very least, I look around for the person, I call boo’s attention to it, “he just spilled his drink on me “ I lamented.

But he gave no response, his face stone cold, he stares at me, that was enough reply for me to shut up and continue my prayers. 

After what seemed like forever, we made it out through the back, far away from where we parked but that was a punishment we could endure. 

I was all thanks to God, I couldn’t speak to boo, he was still not smiling. But I am sure he was also thankful, and once we got into the car, he had a lot to say to me.

The first being “will you come here again?” NO! Never again, never again, I replied. 

Have you ever been to Fela shrine?

Let’s chat in the comment below.