by Esther Eshiet
The streets of Calabar witnessed its annual influx of spectators and Carnival lovers as the 2012 edition of the Carnival Calabar was held on the 27th of December 2012. Dubbed Africa’s biggest street party, thousands of costumed revelers stormed the 12 Kilometre Carnival route to entertain its teaming spectators. Also, it was a public holiday in the state which gave an opportunity for workers in the private and public sector to come out with their families in other to cheer their favorite Carnival bands to success.
With the 2012 theme being “Celebrating a new dawn” the 2012 carnival featured the regular competing bands namely, the Passsion4 band, in its delectable green colour, the Seagulls band, in its magnificent red colour, Bayside band, in its aquamarine blue colour, the Master Blaster band a.k.a. the band for the hip, bold and beautiful, who looked gorgeous in their orange colour, while the Freedom band in its yellow colour added a sparkle of sunshine to the event.
At 11.20a:m the kick-off tape for the event was cut by the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Barr. Effiok Cobham, in the company of other dignitaries and sponsors. Leading the revelers were colourful girls on multiple coloured costumes swinging flags of the various sponsors of the carnival. They were closely followed by the Passion4 band. If you are a strong follower of the carnival, the Passion4 band are a band to watch as they have won six editions of the grand price of the festival, almost consecutively. The fiesta girls of the passion4 band led the procession while other sections of the band followed closely.
After the Passion4 Band came, the Seagulls Band in their red colour, showcased their dexterity in costumes and choreography; led by Senator Florence Ita-Giwa who was flanked by her guests from Nollywood – an annual culture for the band to bring Nigerian actors and actresses on its float, the band did the same this year with Emeka Anyiocha playing its Adult King.
Following the Seagulls Band was the Masterblaster Band, whose performance, was definitely a great improvement from its previous performances, the costumes were good, the choreography was mind blowing and its band membership was the highest this year, a position that was previously held by the passion4 band.
The Bayside Band were next, displaying what in my opinion was the worst performance of the band, this is coming from their winning record a few years ago, the costumes were less sophisticated, the choreography? Just okay. But their membership has also dwindled over the years.
The last competing band to have performed were the Freedom Band, this band used to be one of the not-so-great band, but this year, they had really stepped up their game, with better costumes, creative choreography and their truck decorations were also nice as compared to their performances over the years.
The 2012 Carnival Calabar, also had a spice of the Latin American Carnival culture as the Sao Paolo Vai Vai Samba Carnival Band of Brazil, winners of the 2012 Brazilian Carnival were invited to attend and perform at the event, they displayed their traditional Samba dance which got the crowds cheering, though many had reservations about their costumes. At the end of the day, the Masterblaster Band came tops on the winner’s table clinging the price of N10m, while Passion4 band came second place wining N5m, and Freedom Band went home with N3m.
Esther Eshiet blogs at www.calabarbeckons.wordpress.com