Yinka Olatunbosun

The CEO Shimmers Production Services, Lucia Ikediashi is a big fan of reggae music and even a bigger fan of her late mother whom she lost to cancer about eleven years ago. To immortalise her, Lucia organises reggae sessions that serve as a support system for women who get free test on the spot. Medical tests are often dreaded for the fear of the unknown and music has proved to be one of the best known forms of escapism in troubling times. With this knowledge, Lucia and her friend, Omotola Ibeh, the CEO, 09.16 Enterprises set up the Irie Vibes Fest which she was very excited to talk about.

“Irie Vibes Fest is a reggae show that we use to create awareness for cervical cancer. We do free screenings once a year,” she revealed at a brief encounter with her at the Lagos Fringe, held at Freedom Park, Lagos.

Apart from using reggae for health advocacy, Lucia said that Irie Vibes had been designed to change the perception of people towards reggae music.

“Some people think reggae is for the riff-raffs and drug addicts. But reggae music is conscious music; it’s a religious music. That’s exactly what we are doing. We have had pool parties, Halloween parties and other parties where people can relax and enjoy good music. Reggae Nation is one of our numerous partners and it is a movement,” she declared.

Another reason why many shy away from the test is the cost. Lucia urged the public to embrace it because early detection is crucial to finding solutions to most health challenges.

“These tests are very expensive. Another reason is that many women are not treated properly when they go to the hospital. Most health care givers are not compassionate when in touch with patients. If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, you cannot be sensitive to the needs of your patients. A lot of people who go to the hospital for tests need advice and love. The results can cause psychological damage. They need someone to tell them that they are going to be fine. Self-medication is not proper. We are doing this solely for charity. And we have been at it for years,” she revealed.

Irie Vibes Fest takes place every year at the Freedom Park, Lagos on May 11 in memory of Bob Marley but this year, Irie Vibes will hold on Friday May 9. All-year round, festival directors and fun-spots managers seek partnership with Irie Vibes to spread the reggae fever.

The show has featured reggae artists that have performed such as Oge Kimono and Xtacy alongside visual artists such as Bolaji Alonge, Toju Clarke, Kokwe Yebovi, Da Silva Adulphina Imuede, Doris Komla amongst others.

Irie Vibes Fest is produced by Shimmers Productions Services and 09.16 Enterprises.