In another of his record-setting feats, rapper Olamide has announced Teslim Balogun Stadium as the venue for 2017’s edition of his seminal concert, Olamide Live in Concert.
Besides being the first edition to be held outside the relative sanctity of Eko Hotel, it is also the first time in over a decade that any artiste will be attempting to pack 20,000 odd Lagosians into one place for a night of music.
It goes without saying that this will pose new challenges, the most important of which will be security.
Concerts in Lagos are not exactly hotbeds of crime but here are five ways Olamide’s team can manage security problems at his tribute to the mainland he so fervently represents.
(1) Charge a gate fee: Olamide’s team needs to consider crowd control, especially with managing who makes it into the main bowl of the stadium and the concert proper. The rapper will be the first to tell you that he makes music of and for the streets.
His verses are made of intimidating street narratives, celebratory hooks and victory laps made especially for the people who endure the realities he speaks of. As such, the concert will invite persons who are not exactly paragons of society.
Also, the prospect of so many people in one place at night will attract petty thieves with the intention to pilfer and mug. Olamide’s team would do well to pre-empt this by considering a gate fee that may at least discourage some people with ulterior intentions.
Not many of his die-hard fans will be pleased with this but it may prove necessary if the concert is to be a success.
(2) Pay attention to the inner roads: Teslim Balogun Stadium is located at a sweet spot close to many of Lagos’ busiest and most infamous suburbs; the notorious Mushin, Ojuelegba and Surulere. Most of the fans at #OLIC4 will come from these places.
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During and after the concert, especially when night falls, there is every chance of criminals lurking in the shadows so moving around or heading home before daybreak will be a very risky proposition. Informing people about the risk of moving around at night will be very helpful in this regard.
The Olamide camp, with the support of the Lagos State government, can also provide a security presence along major in-roads like Lawanson, Ogunlana and Ayilara Streets to protect fans on their way home.
(3) Control entry into the stadium: 24, 255. That’s the number of people it will take to technically fill up Teslim Balogun Stadium. Olamide is expected to attract around that number of people on the 17th of December, and if past Nigerian concerts are anything to go by, the gates will be filled with people trying to squeeze through in disorganized lines.
Managing the flow of human traffic will be instrumental. The answer may lie in borrowing a leaf from D’banj’s manual for the 2012 Koko Concert.
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Get heavy security presence courtesy of the state government. Bouncers and security officers can vet tickets at the main gate where maintaining order will be most difficult. A little further down, clerks can exchange tickets for tags and direct concert-goers into the main arena.
(4) Create multiple exits and make sure people see them: Managing tens of thousands in a frenzied crowd is not as easy as it seems. In the unlikely event that something very dangerous happens, law enforcement will lose all the control they had very quickly.
This is why multiple exit points are needed to allow people leave as freely and quickly as possible. These exit points will be useful at the end of the show to avoid the risk of stampedes or a single exit clogged by fans who are too eager to get home.
(5) Cut off empty spaces: Teslim Balogun Stadium is one of the most familiar and accessible arenas in Lagos; it easy to forget that is also a stadium, which means it has all the infrastructure to support sporting activities.
During the concert, most of these saces will be deserted. It is not unusual for unwitting fans to wander into such spaces, only to assaulted and waylay-ed in the shadows.
The solution is simply to block off any area that will not be in direct use for the concert. Also, it would be wise to warn fans to stay away from high-risk places such as water storage areas and rooms where electrical equipment may be stored and managed.