Calabar Carnival: The Event, The City and The Bands
Carnival Calabar Festival in Nigeria, also tagged ” Africa’s Biggest Street Party”, was created as part of the vision of making the Cross River State in Nigeria, the No. 1 tourist destination for Nigerians and tourist all over the world.
The Calabar Carnival started in 2004, when the then governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, had a vision of making his state the hub for tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and in Africa.
Calabar is a city in Cross River State, coastal southeastern Nigeria. The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language. The city is watered by the Calabar and Great Kwa Rivers and creeks of the Cross River. It is famous for its rich cultural heritage and delicious cuisine.
This year’s theme - Climate Change - was carefully selected to reflect current global realities, with a view to drawing the attention of government and individuals to the need to take necessary action against climate change.
The 2016 Edition of the Calabar Festival promises to be even more interesting as new comers like Croatia and Ethiopia will be attending the event in addition to the regulars like Brazil and Rwanda. Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Burundi , Korea, Zimbabwe, Turkey and Ukraine are also expected.
The major attractions of the Carnival include Bikers Parade and the Governors Ball both of which will hold on 27th of December. The Children party alongside the Youth Carnival will hold on 26 December.
The international musical concert featuring top music icons and powered by MTV Base, is slated for Thursday, 29 December.
The biggest highlight of the event will be the Africa's biggest street carnival which is slated for Wednesday, 28th December. It will be led by 50,000 colorfully dressed dancers from the 5 competing Bands - Bayside, Masta Blasta, Freedom, Seagull and Passion 4.
Bayside Band is one of the five Carnival Bands registered in the annual Christmas Festival of Cross River State of Nigeria. Membership is open to all Nigerians and foreigners. The Band is easily identified by its characteristic and distinctive blue and aqua marine colour. Bayside Band is led by Mr. Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State.
Freedom band which is identified with the colour Yellow, was founded by Capt. Henry Brisibe and Mr. Larry Esin in 2005. Since its establishment, the band has consistently been among the best three in all previous editions of the Carnival Calabar event. His Excellency, Barr. Efiok Cobham, the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, is presently the grand patron of the band.
Seagull band was registered in 2005 for the Cross River State annual Christmas festival. It’s the most stylish and coordinated band with the main objective of promoting and sustaining the Tourism & Hospitality industry. The band is under the dynamic and charismatic leadership of the vibrant distinguish Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa.
PASSION 4 BAND
Passion 4 is the most successful band in Carnival Calabar, having been six edition Champions and two editions first runners up in the eight years of the existence of the competition aspect of the carnival. Passion 4 was founded and formerly led by Mr. Chris Agibe who now serves as the Executive Secretary of the Cross River State Carnival Commission. Currently, its leader is Barr. Attah Ochinike, the Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice of Cross River State.
MASTA BLASTA BAND
The Masta Blasta Band also known as “The Orange Family” is the largest and most entertaining of the 5 principal bands of the annual Carnival Calabar. The Masta Blasta Band was established in December 2005 and has a membership base of over 10, 000 members from all over the world. Its current leader is Chief Gershom Bassey.