Partner: Cross River State Government
Genre: Festival/ Arts and Culture
Carnival Calabar is a unique display of Africa heritage showcased through music, dance, drama and visual creativity which is reflected in the design of floats, costumes and make-up. Despite the fun and relaxed atmosphere around the carnival, a great degree of thought, creativity and discipline goes into the interpretation of the carnival theme under a strict adjudication process. The result is pure magic- an outpouring of colour, sound and spectacle, unmatched by anything else on the continent.
Carnival Calabar takes place on the 26th and 27th December each year, and is the highlight of the 32-day Calabar Festival which runs from 30th November to 1st January. The Carnival is the largest cultural Festival in Africa with 50,000 Costumed revelers, 2million spectators and an audience of over 50million television viewers on NTA Network, NTA International, AIT, CRBC and Continental TV (Africa Magic, Channel O and MTV Base). Carnival Calabar features 5 major competing bands and 10 non-competing bands. The major bands are comprised of approximately 10,000 revellers each, including up to five kings and queens wearing large scale costumes that interpret the annual theme and set the tone for the other outfits.
Sections of these costumed revelers create a riot of color and sparkle, along a 12km route accompanied by live music, Djs, well-decorated floats and steel bands. The carnival parade terminates at the UJ Esurene stadium which is the final adjudication and end point of the competition for ‘Band of the year’ in various categories. This competition attracts an additional 15,000 seated spectators and 10,000 others in and around the stadium, as well as 50million TV viewers.
FirstBank has sponsored the festival for about eight years (2007 -2014) and has leveraged the platform to promote indigenous arts, culture, and the celebration of our heritage. The entire festival also features other genres of arts such as stage plays, music and exhibitions which FirstBank also sponsors.