How COVID-19 is altering 2020 Aké arts and book festival

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to affect lives and alter daily lives, organisers of large social gatherings – festivals and music concerts, are being forced to assess and take a difficult decision whether or not to hold their scheduled events as planned. Dates of some of these events are already registered in the consciousness of attendees but COVID-19 is putting everything on hold.

Organisers of the Aké Arts and Book Festival, an annual literary, cultural and arts event have also been forced to take a decision altering the mode of the festival. The festival founded in 2013 by writer Lola Shoneyin, formerly held in Abeokuta, Ogun State annually, before it was moved to Lagos.

It is always a large gathering of literary and creative enthusiasts and writers from different parts of Nigeria and Africa.

In January, the organisers announced its 2020 theme: "Black Magic" and said the event will hold in Lagos from October 22 – 25. The organisers have said the event will hold as planned, but virtually.

"We have decided not to cancel #AkeFestival2020 but to have a magical online festival. It is more important than ever that we continue our tradition of bringing African creatives together for lively, stimulating conversations, while adapting to the current realities," a statement by the organisers said.

"#AkeFest2020 will be free-accessible online to everyone from everywhere."

Prominent among other creative events that have been affected by the COVID-19 is the international Cannes Lions Film and Creativity Festival. The 2020 edition of the annual event which was supposed to hold in May has been cancelled and will now hold in 2021.

Meanwhile, some attendees have been raising concerns over the decision as they are already asking if it will be changed if the world conquers COVID-19 before October when the festival is expected to hold.

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