OkayAfrica CEO Abiola Oke recounts his weekend at this year's MIDEM conference in France.
The last time I was on the French Riviera was the summer of 2006 on a vacation from my banking job, June to be exact, the quadrennial FIFA World Cup games were in swing in neighboring Germany, you could breathe the excitement in the atmosphere. Unbeknownst to me, taking place alongside the soccer games was the annual Fete de la Musique (World Music Day) celebrated in France each year. It was during that same time that I stumbled upon a free concert in Nice where the legendary drummer Tony Allen, a member of Fela Kuti's iconic Afrobeat band Africa 70, was playing his hit song "Asiko" which translates to time or moment from Yoruba. It was a surreal surprise and from that moment on I would never be able to separate music from my experience in this part of the world again.
This year, I returned to France, this time invited by MIDEM, the world's largest international music business conference, to participate in the fourth annual Artist Accelerator program. MIDEM's Artist Accelerator program helps 11 selected musicians from around the world gain access to the conference's crop of industry experts and thought leaders, and also affords them the opportunity to perform live, gain access to mentorship and more.