Top artists from the United States of America (USA), Haiti, Cuba and 10 African countries will participate at this year’s African Drums Festival being organized by Ogun State government.
The festival which started last year as Ogun State Drums Festival was renamed African Drums Festival to have global appeal according to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) , Taiwo Adeoluwa .
The Secretary to State Government at a press conference heralding the activities of the festival in Abeokuta, the ogun State capital, said some of the African countries to attend include Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Congo Brazzaville and Zimbabwe.
He said apart from troupes from the foreign countries, 12 states of the federation have confirmed their participation while nine States have showed “strong interest” in the festival.
He explained that some foreign countries ,including United States, have also shown readiness to participate in the festival.
Adeoluwa however said there would not be any raffle draw this year, maintaining 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.
On the impact of the festival on local economy, Adeoluwa said it would boost daily activities of the people as visitors would be around to patronize locals.
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.
Represented by his deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, Amosun, 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”.