Burgeoning business of event centres

Social functions have been a part of African culture and lifestyle from time immemorial. Wherever you find Africans, there must be a reason to celebrate – from the mundane to the important – wining, dining and dancing form a critical part of daily life.

‘Suffering and smiling’ horde of Africans on the ships sailing the Atlantic into the New World, merrymaking and honeymooning couple and their families, the joyous and lullaby-singing for a new-born, the once-weeping but soon-eating families of the deceased have altogether but earned Africans the legendary status of the happiest folks in the world. In the city of Lagos, ceremonies have assumed new heights.

Definitely, the cosmopolitan nature of the megacity makes it a melting pot of diverse cultures, values and civilizations.

Perhaps also, the state government’s ban on the use of schools for any form of social functions because of the poor outlook of the schools after such ceremonies, event centres, public halls, eateries, hotels and the ilk have attracted more patronage.

The event centres in various gigantic shapes, sizes and hues are scattered in the sprawling expanse of Lagos.

On the island, you will find event centres on both sides of the Lekki-Epe expressway, and this is not to mention those in Ikoyi and Victoria Island. On the mainland, the case is no different.

New Telegraph observed that, some Warehouses facilities have now turned into event centres with huge car parks, folded-up while some relocated to a less expensive location especially outskirt of Lagos State.

According to New Telegraph findings, event centres are found in the nooks, corners, streets, major roads, business districts, in Ikeja and many other parts of Lagos.

On the single stretch of Kudirat Abiola Way (Oregun) in Ikeja alone, there are over 12 event centres namely; Mimaya event centre, Olukunyan House (Hall) Etal Hotel and Hall, Yard 158, Bamoral Hall, Quadosh Place, Kings’ Place event centre, Irorun Bar and Event centre, Kubis hall, Koga hall, Classique event place etc.

Many event centres can boast more than one hall which can host corporate functions like conferences, annual general meetings, trainings, lectures and exhibitions and social functions like weddings, birthdays, funeral ceremonies, and so on. Most of these halls are air-conditioned; some have projectors that aid learning during conferences while some goes further to provide Wi-Fi for their customers.

Traffic Logjam

Every weekend, the car parks of these event centres are jam-packed with vehicles that have conveyed party attendees who have trooped out for the ‘owambe’ social functions, to the extent that parking extends into adjoining streets and roads causing traffic logjam akin to the experience of a regular Monday morning in the ever-busy city.

Really, the weekends are such that nowadays if you don’t have any business outside, you’d rather stay indoors with your family or else you may regret venturing out with your car on such days.

Case in point, the Ikorodu road is a beehive of party activities every Saturday, Lagos- Abeokuta expressway is very busy for various parties holding at various locations along the road.

New Telegraph leant that some of the large portion of land the car parks during the week are opened for the Motorists to drive in and park their vehicles with a fixed price per hour.

The drivers are issued Car Tags that indicate them as the original person who parked the car.

Cost

Depending on the part of city the venue of the corporate or social function will hold, facilities the event centres offer, the magnitude and importance of customers the event centre has previously attracted, the cost of hiring a hall can go as high as N10 million for a day’s event, or as low as N40,000. For example, in the highbrow areas of Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, the minimum could be N1.2million for events, while in places like Ikeja, prices may be between N300, 000 to N2million.

New Telegraph took a tour of some locations around the business district in Ikeja and even made an attempt to price one of the venues that was said to go for N1.2million but was bargained to N800, 000.

Concerts and Fiestas

The advent of music concerts, stand-up comedy shows, and other entertainment events has added a new twist to the distinctiveness of some prestigious event centres.

Thus, their prices have been upwardly reviewed.

These concerts and fiestas record huge turnout of fun-seekers who are likely to have booked ahead of the event either online or on-ground.

New Telegraph gathered that some highlyplaced event centres are booked all year round to underscore their popularity among Lagosians.

Religious worship

The invasion of Religious activities in event centres has also increased clientele for halls and auditoriums. One will find that many hotels, halls and centres hold church services during the week and on Sundays. This is because many newly found churches that cannot yet afford the cost of building a permanent auditorium for worship find these event centres very suitable for their programmes.

Security

The watertight security one find in some event centres will not go un-noted. From the gate to the entrance of each hall where one meets heavily chested bouncers whose huge physique terrifies everyone, one is definitely assured safety throughout the stay within the premises of the event centresmeaning in the local parlance, ‘if a mosquito flies, it will be brought down’.

New trends in Lagos

It is found that under bridges, and sidewalks are gradually turning to mini event centres in Lagos as well.

For example, New Telegraph observed that Iponri under-bridge is now guarded with iron bars and is holding regular events.

For example, it found that a wedding took place there about two weeks ago while religious activities are also in regular sessions there.

The Costain roundabout is also gradually turning to car park for people who frequent party venues around the location.

New Telegraph was at the debut usage of the Grand Artrium event centre located after third round about, Lekki Epe express way.

According to New Telegraph findings, it was a master piece and multi-purpose event place owned by Olorogun Otega Emerhor.

The corporate business mogul and popular Delta State Politician held his daughter, Onajite’s wedding at the hall April 29, 2017.

The hall that is located along the expressway has dedicated car parks. New Telegraph spoke with one of the event centre staff, who pleaded anonymity.

He stated that the main hall can sit over 1,000 guests while the hall upstairs can be used for other functions including Night club party.

Efforts to speak to the hall manager on the fees for the hall were not successful.

In a separate interview with the Hall Manager, Regency Event centre, Alausa Ikeja, Mr. Kolade Gbenro, he said that the event center was built around 1991, recorded as the first ever Event centrer in Ikeja Local Government Area, owned by the popular Otunba Mohammed Jobi Fele. He had gone ahead to build more event centres across the state of which some include; Imperial Hall, Ikeja and Mayfair event centre.

According to Kolade, the Regency has two different halls within the compound and can seat up to 700 guests in a banquet settings while 1,000 guests in a Theatre settings.

He said the name of the hall had gone very wide and highly patronized by even the state government, who use this hall a lot because, of the owner.

“Some of the facilities at the hall include two standby generators, Air conditions, Projector, public address system and ample car park.

Though, we don’t have a big car park, what we do is, we make use of the streets and pay our dues to the Local Government.

Remember, the street is named after the event hall owner. So, we have policemen and the LASTMA officials on ground always to assist with traffic challenges.

On the economic value of event centres, he stated; “No matter the situation in the country, people will always come out to celebrate one thing or the other and this has made our halls keep getting booked weekly.

Through the event centre, a lot of people, especially the youths get jobs every week. Some work as ushers, cleaners, servers, bouncers etc.

The hall goes for average of N600, 000 with Plastic chairs and N800, 000 with chevere chairs,” he stated.

Speaking with Mr. Olumide Adele, the facility manager of Lydia Hall event centre, River Valley, Estate, Berger, an event centre recently opened in Ojodu in August 2016, he said that in the short time, the centre has hosted close to 120 weddings and about 50 corporate events back to back.

He said the facility can comfortably contain 100 cars within the premises and another 150-200 outside.

The event centres can also boast three different halls, cooking area, three standby generators, thirty air conditioners, CCTV cameras for security, Wi-Fi to browse within the premises, projectors, and sound systems.

Speaking on economic recession, he said: “The economic recession has not affected the halls because from January to May, no Saturday has been missed for events; even Sundays are not left out in many weekends.

Most satisfied customers have acted as referrals for other customers. Another driving factor is the cost which is the cheapest in the Ojodu axis despite the standard facilities provided.”

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