The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has disclosed that this year’s edition of the African Drum Festival has witnessed 50 percent increment, with an unexpectedly high participation from Northern African countries and 26 states of the Federation.
Senator Amosun who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Festival, held at the Amphitheatre, New Abeokuta City Centre, said 78 private professional troupes and 23 International troupes are participating in the event, adding that the decision to have the festival at the new festival village was not only to adequately manage the crowd, but to show to the world the possibility of marrying culture and modernity.
‘’It is important to note that this amphitheatre has the capacity to hold up to 10,000 people if the entire space of the complex is fully utilized. Our decision to use this venue is historic, not only because of the opportunity to manage the crowd, but, it also preaches to the world the possibility of a marriage between culture and modernization in an atmosphere, where the true percussion of the drums will be well appreciated, managed and perfectly understood.
‘’We will be having a tribute exhibition of Ogun State performing artists to celebrate the contributions of some illustrious sons and daughters of the State, living and departed, who have used the drum and other percussive instruments in the pursuit of their successful careers. This event is also designed to, especially mark the 77th birthday anniversary of the Juju music legend, Chief Ebenezer Olasupo Fabiyi, aka Ebenezar Obey,” he said.
In his remark, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Director of Entertainment and Creative Services, Dr. Augustus Ajibola, commended the State for sustaining the Festival, saying that the Federal government would continue to support to the State government in its bid to continue promoting culture through drums.
The Ooni of Ife, in company of the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Olu of Ilaro, Akarigbo of Remoland and the Awujale of Ijebuland, represented by the Dagburewe of Idowa, appraised the ingenuity of the Governor for creating an atmosphere, suitable for the festival.
The Festival Consultant and the Chairman, Creative Taskforce, Prof. Wole Soyinka, also applauded the State Government for creating an atmosphere conducive for the festival, adding that the 2019 edition would have a workshop, which would explore deeper, the festival’s agenda of spotlighting the inherent resources of the drumming vocation, as well as the socio-economic benefits of the creative industry, in developing the society.
Earlier in her remark, Chairman, Planning Committee, who is also the State Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Yetunde Onanuga, noted that this year’s Festival was unique with features like, the launch of Adire Ogun Seal of Authenticity, Ogun Sight and Sound, launching of the Adire Lounge, among others, saying, the festival would linger on in the hearts of the people.
In a related development, the Ogun State Government, in conjunction with the office of the Post Master General has launched a N100 African Drum Festival Stamp, with the hope of reaching over 192 countries that are in partnership with NIPOST.