The first edition of the flagship event by Phyno, Phyno Fest, debuted yesterday in Enugu and it was one for the books.
From M.I running off the stage, to Phyno pleading with his fans, the paramedics busy all night; the event was definitely a bittersweet experience.
When we talk of the Easterners in Nigeria, there is one thing they are good at; and that is supporting their own.
Phyno Fest which aimed at shutting down the Cathedral literally had the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium full to capacity, but the organizers were caught off guard with the huge turnout!
- Security – 3/10 (Their presence was felt, but they had no knowledge of crowd control. Just going to the gym and adding up muscles isn’t the only requirement for a bouncer).
- Event Setup and Organization – 4/10 (The stage, Backstage, and lighting were good).
- Crowd Turnout – 9/10 (Enugu came out in numbers! You would think Phyno was running for Governor).
- Artist Line-up and Performances – 7/10 (A good selection of artists and lots of engaging performances).
- Total Rating Of The Event – 6/10
The event officially started at 1 pm under the blazing Enugu sun and lots of fans came out early. As the evening clouds began to cover up the sun, I knew it was time to head down to the Cathedral and I wasn’t the only one who showed up fashionably late (the special guest artists won the fashionably late award).
It was about 6pm, as the BuzzNigeria crew approached the stadium; we began to feel the love Enugu had for their own. Outside the stadium was packed and it became a security nightmare for the security crew who were obviously not trained and prepared to deal with such a crowd.
Multiple entrances began to shut down as people pushed their way in, we literally found our way in without having to show anyone our tickets.
V.I.P? What V.I.P?
If you are one of those expecting a V.I.P treatment because you had a V.I.P ticket, well, sorry to burst your bubble honey, because once we got in; it was all man for himself! There was no special V.I.P entrance, section or package that made us different from the regular ticket holders.
Nonetheless, the show must go on! Though the D.I.A Dance Crew opened the show with a special act during the early hours of the afternoon, the main show only started at about 9pm when the artists began to trickle in.
Main Act Performances
When KC came on stage, the crowd immediately came alive. He gave a banging performance, which was followed by Skiibii’s performance, then Harry Songs; who killed it with his hit track “Baba For The Girls”.
Trying to take advantage of the hyped and engaged crowd, the MCs came on stage and requested the crowd to sing the national anthem, but the crowd wasn’t feeling any of that and started throwing bottles and any item they could find close by.
Humble Smith was quickly brought to the stage, his electric performance settled the crowd for some minutes. However, the crowd was already pumped up and shortly began throwing things all over again.
Condoms were blown up and knocked around like balloons, while bottles were flying around in all directions. The bouncers came in to intervene, but it only led to fights and dogs in the chase.
By 9:56pm Phyno had to come on stage to plead with his fans, threatening to end the show if they continued in their disruptive behavior. The fans were quick to apologize and Humble Smith finished his heartfelt performance with Osinachi, which gave room for Mr. Eazi to take over the stage.
Mr. Eazi’s performance took off with his Sample You Track, this got the crowd jumping. Unfortunately, the better half of his performance was let down by the speakers. The breakthrough artist didn’t let the poor sound from the speakers bring him down, he eventually ended his performance with a well put together acapella and guitar version of Skin Tight.
As Mr. Eazi performed his last track, there was some amazing display of fireworks around the stadium, which gave the feeling that Christmas is just around the corner!
With the first attempt of the National Anthem gone wrong, Phyno had to come on stage personally to request his fans to show their patriotism for their country; by doing it right. The National Anthem was finally done right and more fireworks were lit.
Performance – The Show Has Only Just Began
Phyno remained on stage for the final performance by Mr. Eazi and at 10:27 Mr. Raw (formerly Nigga Raw) was next on stage. For someone who hasn’t released any hit songs for a couple of years now, Mr. Raw stole the second-best performance of the night, as judged by the crowd’s response.
While Mr. Raw performed, the crowd sang his songs word for word. During his performance, there were a number of small circles formed within the crowd, as they danced with handkerchiefs. Up next was the legendary Illbliss (Mr. illygaty!).
Illbliss pulled off another amazing performance. The love he received from the crowd got right through him and he ended his performance by going down on his knees (head down) to thank his fans.
Lil Kesh was the surprise act who came on stage at 10:47 pm and the crowd loved him! He performed hit tracks back to back (while guys had various dance competitions in small groups), before making way for Mr. Incredible himself!
M.I came on stage with some fire, his performance was just like his song “Action Film”. While M.I was looking like the superhero in this action film, he was soon turned into a villain, as the performance was cut short after M.I literally ran faster than Usain Bolt at the sight of the first item thrown towards the stage by fans.
No More Bouncers!
At 11:14, just seconds after M.I ran backstage, Phyno came out again to beg, this time it wasn’t as easy as the previous ones; the fans kept on throwing everything and anything at everyone on stage. Eventually, Phyno calmed them down and really begged, but this time he wanted to find out what was wrong.
He was also joined by Mr. Raw and a few other artists, the fans revealed they were not happy with the bouncers, so Phyno decided to pull out all the bouncers and took the responsibility of that role. Phyno remained on stage throughout the remaining performances.
Zoro was next on stage with a bad start to his performance, but he later redeemed himself by singing songs loved by the fans. He even had various traditional dancers and masquerade perform right next to him.
Phyno gave Zoro’s performance the extra touch it needed, then went on to introduce the next act as his “Best Friend”. At this point, everyone was curious who the next act was! It was 11:49 and all hands went high as Patoranking stepped on stage to give the fans the best performance of the night.
At Midnight while Patoranking was performing, the fans tried climbing on the elevated speakers out on the field. In seconds there were a number of casualties as the speakers all came falling down, causing major injuries.
Even with all the commotion happening in the background, the show wasn’t affected and Patoranking finished with a mind-blowing performance.
At 00:05 the big mummy “Onyeka Onwenu” was brought on stage, she gave the event that motherly touch which filled the air with love and warmth as she performed. The whole stadium gave her a standing ovation as her performance came to an end.
Burna Boy was next on stage, followed by P-Square, then Phyno took over the mic.
Olamide who was one of the first artists to arrive eventually joined Phyno on stage, as the event came to an end.
Best Phyno Fest Performers:
- Mr. Raw
- Harry Songs
- Lil Kesh
- Burna Boy
- Humble Smith
- Mr Eazi
- Onyeka Onwenu
Phyno Fest was a very entertaining show, it had a power packed artist line-up and the hype was right. Sadly, it had a number of flaws. Here are my thoughts:
- When hosting an event with an estimated crowd of over ten thousand people, security is key! Not just the regular security, but those who know how to handle huge crowds “professionally”.
- The entrance would have worked best with a multiple queuing system.
- If you are going to have two separate tickets, especially with the tagline “VIP”, something extra should be offered (separate entrance, reserved sections, best view e.t.c).
I would stop here for now. Personally, I had a good time. With a rating of 6/10, I believe Phyno Fest was a success. Feel free to share your thoughts.