The Concert that Redefined the Nigerian Music Scene: Rhythm Unplugged Shakes Things Up

As we embark on this journey, we take you through a captivating narrative of a music concert that has not only defined but also redefined the Nigerian music scene – Rhythm Unplugged. This annual concert, organized by the Flytime Promotions, has been a cornerstone in the promotion and exposure of Nigerian musicians and comedians. From its inception in 2004 to the present day, Rhythm Unplugged has remarkably shaped the Nigerian music industry and continues to do so with each passing year.


What is does Rhythm Unplugged entail?

Rhythm Unplugged is more than just a music concert; it is a platform for Nigerian artists to showcase their talents, a hub for creativity, and a beacon of cultural representation. It takes place annually in Nigeria and is organized by Flytime Promotions, a subsidiary of the Flytime Group. Over the years, the concert has featured a multitude of artists and hosts, introducing diverse musical talents and comedic acts to the world.

The Birth of Rhythm Unplugged: The Flytime Group Initiative

The concept of Rhythm Unplugged was conceived and brought to life by Cecil Hammond, the CEO of the Flytime Group. With a vision to promote Nigerian artists and comedians, Cecil organized the first Rhythm Unplugged concert in 2004. The success of the initial concert led to the establishment of an annual tradition, marking the birth of one of Nigeria’s most anticipated music events.

The Evolution of Rhythm Unplugged

The Inception in 2004

Flytime Promotions organized the inaugural Rhythm Unplugged concert in 2004 at Fantasyland in Ikoyi, Lagos. Despite being new to the scene, the event managed to sell out, indicating the immense potential it held. The concert served as a platform for local talent at a time when the Nigerian music industry was just beginning to gain international recognition.

Major Milestones Over the Years

Since its inauguration, Rhythm Unplugged has experienced a series of significant milestones that have contributed to its evolution and expansion. The concert grew from a single-city event in Lagos to a nationwide phenomenon, with concerts held in multiple cities across Nigeria, including Benin, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Jos, and Ibadan.

From Fantasyland to Federal Palace to Ocean View

Following the success of the inaugural concert, Rhythm Unplugged expanded its venue to accommodate a growing fan base. The concert has graced various prestigious locations including the Federal Palace Hotel, the Ocean View, and most recently, the Eko Convention Center in Victoria Island, Lagos. These changes in venues reflect the concert’s escalating popularity and impact.

Concerts in Lagos Benin, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Jos, and Ibadan.

Over the years, Rhythm Unplugged has extended its reach beyond Lagos, hosting concerts in numerous other cities. In 2010, Flytime Promotions hosted the first Rhythm Unplugged concert outside of Lagos in Benin City, followed by a concert in Abuja in 2011. This expansion signifies the growing influence and acceptance of the concert across Nigeria.

The Three-Day Music Festival in 2018: Flytime music Festival

In 2018, Rhythm Unplugged took a bold step by becoming part of a three-day music festival named Flytime Music Festival (Flytime Fest). Rhythm Unplugged marked the first day of the festival, headlined by popular artists such as Davido, Tiwa Savage, D’Banj, Burna Boy, and Duncan Mighty. This transformation marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Rhythm Unplugged.

The Influence of Pepsi: The Major Corporate Sponsor

In 2014, Pepsi became the major corporate sponsor of Rhythm Unplugged, leading to the concert being renamed as Pepsi Rhythm Unplugged. This partnership with a global brand like Pepsi elevated the status of the concert and further contributed to its success.

The Impact of Rhythm Unplugged on the Nigerian Music scene

The Influence on Local Artists

Over the years, Rhythm Unplugged has played a crucial role in launching the careers of many local artists. The concert provides a platform for upcoming Nigerian artists to perform in front of large audiences and garner recognition. Artists such as Wizkid, Olamide, Davido, Tiwa Savage, and Seyi Shay were unveiled at the 2011 Lagos edition of Rhythm Unplugged. The concert has consistently showcased fresh talent, thereby significantly contributing to the growth and development of the Nigerian music industry.

Rhythm Unplugged and the Global Recognition of Afrobeats

By promoting local artists and showcasing their talent, Rhythm Unplugged has played a pivotal role in the global recognition of Afrobeats. The concert has introduced international audiences to the unique sounds of Nigerian music, thereby expanding the reach of Afrobeats on the global music scene.

Behind the Scenes of Rhythm Unplugged

Organizing the Event: The Role of Flytime Promotions

Flytime Promotions, under the leadership of Cecil Hammond, is the driving force behind the organization of Rhythm Unplugged. The company has been instrumental in the successful execution of the concert each year. They are responsible for everything from selecting the line-up to organizing the event logistics, ensuring a memorable experience for concert-goers.

Setting the Ticket Prices: The Economics of the Event

The ticket prices for Rhythm Unplugged are set after thoughtful consideration of various factors. These include the costs involved in organizing the event, artist fees, and the objective of making the concert accessible to a wide audience. The pricing strategy aims to strike a balance between covering costs and providing value to attendees.

How COVID-19 Affected the Concert

Like many other events worldwide, Rhythm Unplugged was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for social distancing and restrictions on public gatherings posed challenges to the organization of the concert. However, despite these challenges, the team behind Rhythm Unplugged has been exploring innovative ways to continue the tradition while adhering to safety guidelines.

Notable Performances at Rhythm Unplugged

The Headline Acts Over the Years

Over the years, Rhythm Unplugged has seen performances from some ofthe biggest names in the music industry. From local talent to international stars, the concert has been a platform for artists to connect with audiences and make their mark.

Special Feature: American Musician Trey Songz in 2015 Edition

The 2015 edition of Rhythm Unplugged saw the participation of American musician, Trey Songz as the headline act. This not only added an international flair to the concert but also allowed for a cultural exchange between Nigerian and international artists, contributing to the global recognition of Afrobeats.

Nigerian Stars Light Up the Stage in 2016

The 2016 edition of Rhythm Unplugged in Lagos was a star-studded event, featuring performances from Seyi Shay, Falz, Olamide, Omawumi, Kiss Daniel, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Koker, DJ Obi, DJ Exclusive, and Cobhams. These performances highlighted the plethora of talent within Nigeria and further solidified Rhythm Unplugged’s reputation as a premier music event.

Big Shaq, Davido, Tiwa Savage and More in 2017

In 2017, Rhythm Unplugged hosted its first two-day Music and Comedy festival. The first day of the concert featured performances by Big Shaq, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal, Simi, Runtown, Olamide, Ycee, Niniola, Small Doctor, Mayokun, 9ice, Nonso Amadi. These performances were not only entertaining but also served to highlight the diversity of talent present in the Nigerian music scene.

The 2018 Edition: Performances by Burna Boy, Duncan Mighty etc.

The 2018 edition of Rhythm Unplugged was another landmark event. As part of a three-day music festival named Flytime Festival, Rhythm Unplugged was featured on the first day of the festival, headlined by popular acts such as Davido, Tiwa Savage, D’Banj, Burna Boy, Duncan Mighty and DJ Cuppy. Each performance was a testament to the rich variety and depth of talent within the Nigerian music industry.


The Legacy of Rhythm Unplugged

Over the past decade and a half, Rhythm Unplugged has left an indelible mark on the Nigerian music scene. It has not only provided a platform for artists to showcase their talents and reach larger audiences but has also played a significant role in the global recognition of Afrobeats. With its consistent dedication to promoting Nigerian talent, Rhythm Unplugged continues to contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian music industry.

What to Look Forward to in Future Concerts

As we look towards the future, one can expect Rhythm Unplugged to continue its tradition of hosting diverse and talented line-ups, providing quality entertainment, and promoting Nigerian music. While the format and scale of the concert may evolve with changing times, the essence of Rhythm Unplugged remains the same – celebrating the richness of Nigerian music and culture. So, whether you are a long-time fan or a first-time attendee, there is always something exciting to look forward to at Rhythm Unplugged.

Don’t miss out on any of these incredible experiences! Be sure to subscribe to the Flytime Fest newsletter and follow @Flytimefest on social media to get exclusive access to dates, lineup, and tickets for the next Rhythm Unplugged and Flytime Fest experience.


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