Empowering Jos Creatives: The Impact of the Incredible Music Festival

Incredible Music Festival

Jos City has always been hailed as the creative hub in Nigeria, showcasing a plethora of talents that have emerged from its vibrant streets. Renowned artists and entertainers, including the likes of the celebrated gospel artist Panam Percy Paul, Jeremiah Gyang, and notable figures like Pspuare, the famed Choc Boiz trio—MI Abaga, Ice Prince Zamani, and Jesse Jagz—have all found their roots in this unique city.

As a city, Jos holds diverse meanings for different individuals. Its cool climate and breathtaking landscape have played a pivotal role in attracting people from various walks of life. Also, the people in Jos are hospitable and welcoming. For this reason, Jos has become a haven for creatives, giving birth to talents in poetry, film, photography, music, sports, and beyond. The city boasts institutions like the National Film Institute, NTA Television College, and numerous creative outlets. These institutions solidify its status as a creative powerhouse.

Despite these accolades, Jos remains an untapped reservoir, especially in the realm of the creative economy. The setbacks stemming from the crisis of September 2001 and subsequent years have left a lasting impact on the city. Over the years, the creatives in Jos have voiced their demands, urging both the government and local artists to contribute to the city’s ascent to the next level.

Incredible Music Festival
MI Abaga having a heartfelt discussion with creatives on day one of the festival

The Incredible Music Festival, an initiative spearheaded by the eminent Nigerian rapper Jude Abaga, popularly known as MI Abaga, and his company TASCK, debuted in 2022. The festival aimed to provide a platform for creatives in Plateau State and neighbouring states in the middle belt region, allowing them to showcase their talents and gain exposure to a broader audience.

However, this festival transcends mere musical performances; it creates a conducive space for discussions on social impact, political participation, inclusion, and mental well-being for creatives. This year’s festival focused on critical topics. It included discussions on the inclusion of people with disabilities in the tech space, mental health challenges within the creative community and much more. 

Incredible Music Festival
TASCK aims to create an inclusive environment for all in the creative space

The TASCK initiative also fosters conversations around digital solutions crafted by Africans, for Africans. Companies like Aurally, Algorand, Perra Wallet, and others have joined the dialogue. These companies focus on promoting discussions on crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. Furthermore, they offer digital solutions for creatives to showcase their content and earn better compensation than mainstream streaming platforms.

The evening hangout for creatives, built around light music and conversations, allowed creatives to network and foster room for important collaborative efforts. These networking events also featured light music, poetry/spoken word, and some light refreshments. Everyone in attendance had a memorable experience.

L-R MI Abaga, Jonathan Makama, Florence Augustine and Philip Dimka after a panel discussion on mental health.

TASCK’s core mission is to connect talented creatives with the opportunities they need to flourish. This year’s festival embraced the theme “Creatives Will Change Africa,” resonating as the festival’s resounding message both online and offline. With Africa under the global spotlight, particularly with the surge of Afrobeats and technology, investors are keenly eyeing the continent, making MI Abaga and TASCK’s initiative in Jos pivotal for creatives.

The festival’s grand finale provided artists with a monumental stage to exhibit their talents, perhaps the largest platform many of them have ever graced. From gospel music performances to intense battle rap for hip-hop enthusiasts and a Choc Boiz reunion led by MI Abaga and Jesse Jagz, the event showcased an array of talents. Unfortunately, Ice Prince Zamani could not make it this year. Despite Ice Prince’s absence, the Choc Boiz paid homage to him with iconic melodies like “Oleku” and “Superstar.” Also, the orchestra performance led by a band from the University of Jos, underscored the abundance of homegrown talent in Jos awaiting opportunities to showcase their craft.

Incredible Music Festival
MI Abaga and Jesse Jagz moved the crowd with their hit songs

In an era where local touring is dwindling for Nigerian musicians and the biggest stars exploring global markets, the Incredible Music Festival is a necessary step for passing on musical legacies from generation to generation. While Lagos dominates as Nigeria’s entertainment hub, the saturated market poses challenges. Collaborative efforts in Jos could establish an ecosystem, potentially attracting stars from across Nigeria and Africa, thereby boosting the city’s creative economy.

Yet, much work remains. The creatives in this region must demonstrate readiness for the opportunities at hand. MI Abaga and TASCK have laid the foundation, providing a platform for talents to shine. Therefore, the onus is now on the performing artists, writers, tech enthusiasts, dancers, and more to show their commitment to elevating the creative scene in Jos.

Government involvement is pivotal in creating an enabling environment for creatives and ensuring the state’s security. So far, the present Plateau State government’s positive inclinations in this direction bode well, and collective efforts can transform these aspirations into reality.

Plateau State holds vast potential for tourism and culture, with entertainment acting as a key driver to attract visitors. The Incredible Music Festival brought creatives from different parts of Nigeria together, with some travelling from as far as Zamfara State to attend. As we eagerly anticipate the third edition of the Incredible Music Festival, we hope for a time of greater possibilities and continued growth for Jos.

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