The Calabar Carnival and Cultural Fiesta 2017

African Festivals | Calabar Carnival and Cultural Fiesta 2017

Africa is home to some of the best festivals and cultural events in the world, from huge carnivals and religious celebrations to smaller musical and harvest events. There is always festivals and events happening around the continent, and these African festivals are colourful and vibrant. The Calabar carnival is one of many festivals in Africa. Calabar carnival is a popular occasion held annually in Nigeria at Calabar, the capital of Cross River which shares borders with Cameroon.

Cross River is one of the most beautiful places within Nigeria which is laced with countless tourist destinations and attractions such as the Obudu Ranch Resort, Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Ikom waterfalls and a bunch of many other tourist destinations which has both locals and visitors from around the world in awe of the wonderful city.

Festivals in Africa: Calabar carnival festival 2017
calabar carnival festival 2017 © firstbanknigeria/flickr

The Calabar carnival is a 13 years old festival which was launched at it’s first showcase by the then current Governor of Cross River state “Donald Duke” back in December 2004 in other to promote state’s tourism and that of Nigeria as a whole which it did to the fullest. While the event promoted tourism both for Calabar and Nigeria as a whole, it also encouraged peace and friendship between different Nations from across world as different tourists grace the streets of the city during the festivities, which in return also boosts the Nigerian economy. It also creates an opportunity for different SMEs as they would have an opportunity to have more amount of sales and also network while the city gets to entertain it’s guests.

Calabar Carnival in Cross River State
calabar carnival festival 2017 © firstbanknigeria/flickr

The 2017 Edition of the carnival which took place in December hosted about 2 million tourists and visitors from 25 different countries across the world which makes Calabar the most visited state and tourist destination in Nigeria and Africa at large. The event which was stormed by tourists from across the world featured a lot fun filled activities from dances, to beauty pageants and live performances by Nigerian A list music artists.

Also spotted at the carnival was popular British Nigerian actor “John Boyega” who starred as ‘Finn’ in two series of The Star Wars film Star ‘The Force Awakens and it’s sequel ‘The Last Jedi’, as well as other known Nigerian actors Shan George, Ime Bishop Umoh popularly known as ‘Okon’, Rachel Oniga amongst many others.

The streets of Calabar was packed with thousands of tourists being entertained by various dance groups in colorful costumes as well as music bands that played to the hearing of both the visitors and the dancers on the streets. The streets of Calabar were also stormed with bikers from across borders during the Bikers Carnival which is part of the event program. The Ekpe masquerade festival was also one of the many highlights of the carnival as different masquerades danced the beat of local drums around the city while exhibiting the cultural heritage of the Calabar people to the world.

The former Governor of Cross River state ‘Donald Duke’ also graced the carnival with his team of bikers and his wife as well as some other notable people from across the country. It was no doubt one of the most amazing festivals in Nigeria at the time.

festival 2017
calabar carnival festival 2017 © firstbanknigeria/flickr

One of the most cherished highlights of the carnival is that of the beauty pageant, where the most beautiful ladies in the city of Calabar competed against each other to find most attractive and most intelligent woman in the city who after winning the competition, will be representing the city at competitions both home and abroad. The carnival sure left a mark in the hearts of it’s audience.

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The 5 Most Iconic Cultural Festivals in Nigeria

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria

Festivals are essential and special events which are being celebrated by a community with in a particular village which focuses on a particular characteristic occurrence in the community such as the new yam festival, Eid, Sango festival, Eyo festival, Argungu festival, and many others. Our main focus is on the major festivals being celebrated within Nigeria. Looking for local things to do in Nigeria? Here are 5 most iconic cultural festivals in Nigeria.

Eyo Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Eyo festival
Eyo Festival – © kunle ogunfuyi/flickr

This festival is know and being celebrated by the people of Lagos island popularly known as “Eko” which means Hinterland of Lagos. The Eyo festival is held to escort the departed soul of the Lagos King and to also usher in a new King. During this festival, white clad masquerades are being seen dancing with staffs called “Opa Ambata” and these masquerades represent the spirits of the dead and are also referred to as “Agogoro Eyo” (Tall Eyo) in Yoruba language.

Argungu Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Argungu festival
Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi State, Nigéria – © gvizane/flickr

The Argungu festival is one of the major fishing festivals being held annually for a duration of four days in kebbi state which is located in the northern region of Nigeria. The major purpose of the festival is for fishing and also to promote unity amongst the people. Various people travel from various parts of the world to experience this festival which began in the year 1934 as a mark of the end of the hostility between the Sokoto caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. The festival is now one of the major festival which both people from within Nigeria and abroad look forward to annually. Thanks main even of the festival is the competition between over 30,000 fishermen who go into the Mata Fada river in search of the biggest fish and who ever gets the biggest catch goes home with over $7,500 in cash.

New Yam Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: New yam festival
Igbo dancers at the New Yam Festival – © jujufilm/flickr

This is an annual cultural festival which is held at the end of the rainy season in the month of August by the igbo people. The festival symbolizes the conclusion of a harvest. This festival is being celebrated with a feast of new yam and an offering is also being made to the spirits of the field with reference to the presiding deity of the team crop. This ritual is being performed by eldest man in the community by offering the yams to God, deities and ancestors by showing gratitude to God for his continuous protection and kindness in leading them from season to season without results of deaths and hunger.

Oro Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Oro festival
Oro festival – ©

The oro festival is one of the major cultural festivals in Nigeria – a ritual celebrated by specific towns in the Yoruba origin. The Oro festival is a celebration of the passing away of a notable personality. This ritual is being celebrated by male descendants who are paternal natives of the specific town celebrating the event taking. It is said that women and none natives of the town celebrating this festival must stay indoors as the ritual must not be seen by these people.

Igue Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Igue festival
Igue Festival, Benin, Edo state, Nigeria – © Kunle Ogunfuyi/flickr

The igue festival is known to be celebrated amongst the Benin people. The festival which is being celebrated between Christmas and New year is being done to renew Oba Ewuare’s magical powers. The Oba is being prohibited to be in the presence of a non native person during the ritual season.

What do you think about these cultural festivals in Nigeria? Have we missed anything? Let us know by commenting below. Don’t forget to share with your friends.

Chale Wote Street Arts Festival, Ghana (Photos)

Chale Wote Street Arts Festival

Chale Wote Street Arts Festival: Chale Wote Street Arts Festival might be all the reason you ever needed to come to Ghana. This is an event worth experiencing. The CHALE WOTE is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance and performance out into the streets of the historical Jamestown, Ghana on the High Street in Accra. Considered by many as best Ghana festival, this festival has led the transformation of the city of Accra into the one of the biggest cultural production hubs of West Africa, and has gone to inspire similar and various Ghana festivals across the country.

Since 2011, CHALE WOTE has seen Ghana-based and international artists engaging in processions, street painting, live performances, extreme sports, films screenings, spoken word, interactive art installations, jam sessions and much more. A platform for local upcoming artists to present themselves to the world – artists within the city using the festival to give Accra a facelift. This is a premier arts event worthy of a calendar space in your agenda!

Street Arts Festival
Work by @mohawudu & @nicowayo on Brazil Lane at Chale Wote 2017. Photo: @niikotei & @abdularafat_
Comfort Arthur used her “Naughty Nii” animations as a revolt to the norm of western animation that flood our screens and libraries
Work by Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi performed at the James Fort Prison in Jamestown. Photo: @niikotei
Wata Women: some of the women artists, writers, researchers and filmmakers for #ChaleWote2017
@crazinist_artist & John Herman performing Bond[H20] at Chale Wote. Photo: @abdularafat_
Scene from 2017 Chale Wote opening exhibition. Photo: niikotei

Powerful Aquae triptych by Alex Osei-Bonsu

3D inspired work of Quentin VerCetty inside Brazil House.
Yvette Nsiah’s colorful mosaic panels embedded with portraits of black women
Performers thrilling the street as they navigate the #WataMata. Photo: @niikotei
A Consciousness Project by Latifah Iddriss, installed inside Ussher Fort for Chale Wote 2017. Photo: @latifah_iddriss
Kwame Boafo (@kwameboafo_) performing his piece, Daze at Chale Wote 2017. Photo: @abdularafat_
Night jamming session at Mantse Agbonaa. Photo: @niikotei
Mix of artists talking, film screenings, special workshops, DJ mixers and performances. Photo: @niikotei
Ghana Street Arts Festival

African Artists Shine At Made In America Festival

Made In America Festival

Afrobeat: from Nigeria, to Ghana, to Sierra Leone, African artists represented the African sound well represented at the 2017 Made In America Festival. African music came alive!

Made In America
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Day 1 of the Festival proved to be muddy and wet, but saw Sampha from the Rocky Stage treating Festival-goers to an eclectic mix of his fan favourites, including “Timmy’s Prayer,” and “No One Knows Me Like The Piano.” The energetic crowd later sang along as the London-based Sierra Leone native launched into his infamous hook from Drake’s “Too Much.”

Made In America festival
Lisa Lake/Getty

Ghanaian-British grime artiste Stormzy closed out the TIDAL stage with a high-energy set that included a noteworthy performance of his popular 2015 single, “First Things First,” as well as “Big For Your Boots,” from his sophomore album, Gang Signs & Prayer, released earlier this year.

Made In America concert

With the forecast promising nothing but warmth and sun for Sunday (Sept. 3), Nigerian multi-talented songstress and actress Tiwa Savage lit up the Liberty stage and provided a majestic show that had the entire audience in sync. For her Made In America debut, Tiwa was outfitted in a beautifully designed, multi-print short set paired with a black tulle accessory trimmed in pink. Tiwa wowed the crowd with breathtaking performances of “All Over” and “My Darlin.” She later surprised the crowd by bringing out fellow Roc Nation signee and Congolese rapper, Young Paris, for a performance of “Best of Me (Remix).”

One artist who has had an impressive run in the last 12 months, is Maleek Berry. Berry kept the momentum going as graced the TIDAL stage, and doused the crowd with a flurry of bangers like “On Fire” and “Been Calling.” Maleek also brought out YCee for a performance of their summer banger “Juice,” before he sent the audience into a frenzy with a surprise guest appearance from veteran Philly rapper Freeway.

African music stars on the ground at the Budweiser Made in America:

Stormzy performing at Made in America


Tiwa Savage and her dancers for Made in America festival
Maleek Berry and Philly rapper, Freeway
Maleek Berry and Ycee performing ‘Juice’ at Made in America festival
Tiwa Savage in her stunning outfit
Young Paris performing at 2017 Made in America festival
African Artists Made In America Festival
Mavin Records official DJ, Dj Big N and Tiwa Savage
Made In America lineup
Young Paris and Tiwa Savage
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African Festivals: Lake of Stars

lake of stars music festival

Best Malawi Festival – the Lake of Stars Festival is an annual three-day international festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi. Lake of Stars promotes Malawian arts and tourism through international interaction and exposure. Lake Malawi’s nickname of the Lake of Stars lends its title to this beautiful festival. The festival also includes talks, similar to TED talks, theatre, clowns, dance and mixed martial arts. The festival attracts thousands of attendees with musical acts from Africa and the United Kingdom, thrilling the people with global sounds from Afropop to folk to beat-boxing.

Lake of Stars Music Festival.

Shores of Lake Malawi thrilling Africa, and across Africa.

Lake of Stars festival

Will Jameson set up the Lake of Stars Project in 2003 to encourage international tourism to Malawi. The project uses cultural tourism to generate revenue and exposure for Malawi. The project was born from a desire to raise money for a developing economy, help promote Malawi as a tourist destination and expose Malawian artists to an international audience.

The majority of Lake of Stars staff are volunteers and the majority of performers get little to no pay. This festival generates over $1 million for the local economy. Attendees also visit orphanages to spend time with children and play games and sports with them.

Festival Figures for Lake of Stars 2015

  • 79 Malawian acts performed at Lake of Stars 2015
  • 81 artists and creative practitioners took part in 4 seminars and workshops
  • 70+ volunteers from Malawi powered the festival working across a range of roles
  • Over 1.6 million reached through our marketing campaign$1,468,119 million was generated
  • 800 non-Malawian visitors attended so 34% of the ticket holding audience

Lake of Stars Music Festival is on break in 2017. The festival will return to Lake Malawi in September 2018 for the fifteenth anniversary.

Enjoy the pictures from the Best Malawi Festival – Lake of Stars Music Festival past years

Music Festival

Best Malawi Festival

Best Malawi Festival

Lake of Stars Music Festival

Lake of Stars

Malawi Festival

Lake of Stars

lake malawi

african festival
Images courtesy of: ( 

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Best Music Festival In Timbuktu


Considered by many as best Mali festival, the Festival au désert (“Festival in the Desert”) is an annual concert in Timbuktu, Mali, showcasing traditional Tuareg music as well as music from around the world. The first Festival took place in Tin Essako in 2001 and then it moved in 2002 to Tessalit in the Kidal region (North-Eastern Mali).

The Tuareg band

A must experience festival.

festival au desert

Tinariwen first garnered international attention with their performance at the 2001 Festival.

Photo by Marie Planeille #tinariwen #desert #emmaar

A post shared by Tinariwen (@tinariwen) on

Festival au desert, has been well documented and influence in the pop and music culture. Several documentary films have been made about the Festival including The Last Song Before the War and Woodstock in Timbuktu. Other documentary films are in production. The documentary Dambé: The Mali Project tells the story of a cross-cultural musical adventure over 3000 miles by two Irish musicians, that features performances from the Festival au désert.

This is a must experience festival. However, the Festival has continued to be postponed due to security concerns in the region.

Audience at the Festival au Desert, Timbuktu, Mali

Tuaregs at the Festival
desert party timbuktu

Bono (U2) at the Festival au Desert
desert trip

Noura Mint Seymali & Seddoum Ehl Eida at the Festival
timbuktu tourism

desert festival
Images courtesy of Alfred Weidinger/Flickr

Audience at the Festival
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You might also be interested in: The Best Festival in Malawi (Lake of Stars Music Festival)

Notable Festivals in Guinea

best Guinea festivals

Guinea is a country in West Africa, bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, in the southeast. As diverse in landscape as her peoples, cuisine, culture, and languages. Guineans are fun-loving and spirited people. They are also very keen on preserving their beliefs, which is evident in all the festivities and religious practices they observe. Festival des Arts de Conte, Macao Arts Festival, and Festival International Kora et Cordes de Conakry are some of the prominent best Guinea festivals, which are celebrated with much fanfare and enthusiasm.

1. Macao Arts Festival

festivals guinea

The Macao Festival is held in March-April. One of the highly anticipated events in Guinea. It is based on the legend of a hunter in search of a drumming monkey and acted in form of a circus. The event is celebrated with a circus, where a great mix of acts based on native traditions are performed by a group of acrobats, jugglers, dancers, and musicians. This is a must see.

2. Festival International Kora et Cordes de Conakry

holidays guinea

This long-standing tradition commemorates the contributions of Guinean artists to the performance arts and is celebrated on the first week of December. Festival International Kora et Cordes de Conakry is an annual musical event and the largest in Conakry. Performers and personalities play all genres on makeshift street platforms and in large venues.

3. Kini Afrika or Festival des Arts de Conte

This is a weeklong explosive festival display of classic Guinean drama, performed by the nation’s most talented authors and wordsmiths. This arts festival often takes place in the last week of April. An authentic celebration of street art, where storytellers, journalists, poets, and writers entertain the crowds by reciting their works. People also gather to indulge in oratory practices and debates. Conferences coincide with workshops, cultivating interest in the written and spoken word.

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