All Eyes on EDOFEST 2018

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A painting of one of the stolen works in Benin

Yinka Olatunbosun

Culture buffs will arrive in droves at Benin City in December when the six-day Edo State Festival of arts, culture and tourism, EDOFEST begins. From December 17 to 22, the state, with its rich cultural heritage, will host youths at home and in the diaspora with activities revolving around this edition’s theme, “Harnessing Arts and Culture.’’

As a global cultural brand, the Benin Kingdom boasts of the most coveted artifacts in history, representing the earliest civilisations in Africa. Against this backdrop, a special photo exhibition and carnival parade of all the stolen original arts from Benin, currently held in different locations in the Europe will be showcased on the opening day.

The photographs were taken by a foreign journalist in Germany. This was revealed during a media briefing in Lagos with the Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero.

“It is important to show the world that we know where these arts and artefacts are,’’ the commissioner said.

The commissioner who chairs the 19-man committee for EDOFEST said it was inaugurated by the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to ensure a hitch-free festival. According to him, fun seekers will savour the taste of good music alongside cultural dances drawn from various tribal groups.
Expectedly, DJs will spin the wheels of steel in addition to the live performances. The second day of the festival will feature dramatic performances while the third day of the festival will be set aside for the festival lecture and masterclasses on the history of Edo State.

On the fourth day, foodies will have their fill during the food exhibition taking place simultaneously with the fashion show that involves 18 local governments. The food festival is expected to amplify the rich diversity in the Edo cuisine and culinary skills.
Awards ceremony and gala night mark the fifth day while the next day dubbed, “Diaspora Day’’ will feature a Mega Concert which brings the festival to a close.

“I am happy with the attention that it is getting. We didn’t have this last year. It shows that it is going to be greater and bigger. We already have a sponsorship brochure for the event,’’ the commissioner remarked as he cited the value-chain inherent in this annual festival that draws hundreds of thousands to the multi-venue event.

It is expected that every commercial vehicle enroute Benin City will be branded EDOFEST, in the spirit of a rousing festival.