Michael Adesanya /Abeokuta
The United States of America (USA), Haiti, Cuba and 10 African countries have shown interest in participating in the African Drums Festival in Abeokuta.
The Festival is being organised by the State government.
The maiden edition of the festival held last year was called Nigeria Drums Festival before the name was changed to African Drums Festival this year.
The festival will commence on Thursday, April 20 and end on Saturday, April 22.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG)and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) , Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa who spoke on Tuesday in Abeokuta at a World Press Conference heralding activities lined up for the festival and unveiling of its logo, listed some of the African countries to include Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Congo Brazzaville and Zimbabwe.
He said apart from troupes from foreign countries, 12 states of the federation have confirmed their participation while nine states have showed strong interest in the festival.
Adeoluwa disclosed that the festival was for the countries to fraternise as well as showcasing the state’s culture to the world.
He said that the festival would be both participatory and competitive, saying those who like to compete would compete and those who don’t would enjoy themselves.
Adeoluwa said there would not be any raffle draw this year, insisting that all the organisers wanted was for the participants to have fun.
According to him, the State would be spending under N50 million on the Festival, disclosing that the state has secured a partnership with international institutes such as Goethe Institute in Germany and others, to make the event a success.
“It will cost the state so little, what we are spending is under N50 million and it is not about the size of the budget. We are using direct labour and we are sourcing for everything locally, we are also leveraging on our friends and supporters who are partnering with us”.
He added that the 2017 edition has been expanded to accommodate troupes from private and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), while renowned drummers like Alao Adewole, Ojubanire and Aderoju of late Ayinla Omowura, Haruna Ishola and Sikiru Ayinde, respectively, will be part of the event.
The troupe of late Hubert Ogunde from Ososa in Ogun state will also perform at the festival.
He disclosed that the Festival would boost the economy of the State and the locals would also benefit from it.
Adeoluwa stated that the state is more committed to sustain the Festival and make it like Osun Osogbo and Calabar festivals.
Before unveiling the festival’s logo, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said the festival would promote unity and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the African continent as well as put the State on the world map.
Amosun who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, noted “the unique aspect of the festival was the unveiling of the world tallest drum last year”.
He added “It (festival) received greater acceptance, and it has opened doors for our brothers and sisters from other African countries. It is one way of promoting unity in the continent”.
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism and the Secretary of the LOC, Mr. Muyiwa Oladipo said the organisers changed the name after a plea from the representative of the Minister for Culture and Information as well as some participants at the last edition.
He said that the state is staging the Festival in order to tell the world that the state is more mature.