For tourists and inhabitants of Rivers State, this year’s edition of the internationally acclaimed cultural fiesta, CARNIRIV will be a load of fun and excitement. In the line-up of international music stars that will perform at the carnival are Grammy award-winner, Shaggy, reggae singer, Patra popularly called the “Queen of the Pack”, and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
This year’s CARNIRIV is a commemorative edition, and it has been tagged “CARNIRIV 2012 Port Harcourt 100 Edition”. Kicking off on Monday December 10, 2012, the carnival is in celebration of the centenary anniversary of the existence of Port Harcourt. The unique blends of culture, music and entertainment as well as the participation of international stars have been described as underlining the distinctiveness and multifaceted character of CARNIRIV as a global carnival brand compared to any similar carnival held elsewhere.
According to the Director-General, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), Dr. Sam Dede, arrangements have been concluded with a number of local and international entertainers that will thrill guests on various days and across various segments of the carnival including the opening and closing ceremonies on December 10 and 15 respectively. Dede explained that one of the high profile events for this year is the Christian interdenominational CARNIRIV Praise Jam slated for Sunday, December 9 at 7pm, at the Civic Centre, Port Harcourt during which the Soweto Gospel Choir will be in their best element with soul-lifting songs.
“This is an icebreaker event for CARNIRIV 2012. The best gospel artistes within and outside the country are expected to grace the stage in an evening fused with soulful and uplifting music, requisite for inspiring the added spiritual ambience which the Port Harcourt Carnival ordinarily thrives in,” Dede said. The DG added that Shaggy and Patra alongside other top local and international artistes are expected to storm Reggae-360, an event organised for reggae lovers and connoisseurs alike, on Thursday, December 13.
“As music is largely incomplete without a tinge of reggae timbering away in its familiar pulse-like rhythm, so is the carnival incomplete without a well-rounded reggae feast,’’ he declared. Dance of Fireflies (DOFF) is another thrilling event in which renowned musicians and entertainment buffs will have the opportunity to shake their bodies to the rhythm of good music. Dede said DOFF forms the theme of the opening ceremony concert and it will feature a well-choreographed, dance collage compromising indigenous riverine dances and callisthenics for the enactment of a dance drama entitled,
The Return of the Mangrove Giant. Dede further explained thus: ‘”The concert will bring together high-calibre international performers in league with top Nigerian artistes to fire-up a memorable night.” Still on the entertainment side, he said it would be another evening of excitement on Wednesday, December 12 as lovers of African music gather for the Black African Music Festival (BAMFest) – a celebration of the black African heritage, which stretches beyond the continent of Africa. Expected at BAMFest are select black musicians from the Americas, Caribbean Islands, Europe and Africa.
HOSH Jam, a concert that reminisces the splendour, ease and rustic charm of nightlife in the ‘60s and ‘70s, is equally billed for December 11. Other top-notch glamour events of CARNIRIV 2012 include the Kids Carnival billed for Sunday, December 9 by 2pm. The intent of the kiddies’ version, according to Dede, is to demonstrate the importance of children in the scheme of things as well as develop their interest in tourism right from their formative year. Also coming up is the unveiling of CARNIRIV Monument on Monday, December 10.
During this event, CARNIRIV ’88 monument, which has been renovated into a befitting memorabilia, will become the image of CARNIRIV franchise as the oldest Carnival in Nigeria. On the other hand, the new CARNIRIV monument will be rigged as an antique, towering up in the sky, to mark the Port Harcourt 100 Edition of the carnival. Part of the major highlights of this year’s carnival is what has been fittingly dubbed, “Ekere: Rhythm of the Tribes”, a display of the rich cultural essence of the primal artistic fervour and glamour of the patrician heritage of Rivers people in the 23 Local Government Areas.
This will be on parade from December 11 to 13. Sam Dede also disclosed that an International Aquatic Fiesta would hold on December 12 while the Heritage Parade and the Old Port Harcourt Town Groove respectively hold on December 14. The weeklong CARNIRIV will be rounded off with the World Peace Concert, whose aim is to disseminate the message of peace via the vocal chords of some of the finest apostates of music worldwide amidst a rhapsody of spectacular fireworks.