I was in Calabar for the 2014 Calabar Carnival. Well the carnival procession on the 27th to be precise. Considering this was the 10th anniversary it felt like the perfect time to be back after my first experience 8 years ago.
I enjoyed my stay as I always do. Calabar for me just has this slow mellow vibe. People just appear to be genuinely polite and cordial, or maybe just in December. You meet political office holders and they are just unassuming instead of the typical respect me by all means aura, show me complete reverence and mean looking mobile policemen ready to push you to the side. Even the policemen in Calabar seemed nice. It’s not an easy feat to make the Nigerian police look nice.
On countless occasions I saw ladies in costumes posing for photo after photo with carnival goers, never saying no, always flashing a smile. This was past 9pm, after they had been walking under the sun all day. I’ll just assume they got some kind of customer service training. I didn’t see any of the performers decline a photo request and that left a huge impression on me.
The carnival was made up of five bands: Passion4, Masta Blasta, Freedom Band, Bayside Band and the Seagulls Band. The five bands also had different segments. There were about four adjudication centres (sorry I’m not a journalist :)) along the path of the carnival procession with the final centre at the stadium.
I only saw 2 1/2 of the bands perform. I watched Passion 4, Masta Blasta and parts of the Freedom Band on television before leaving a friend’s house to watch the procession on the streets. From what I saw on TV, Masta Blasta looked like a lock to retain the trophy. They had this group of dancers that friends decided to nickname the “Bombay” chicks. The way they danced to Bombay by Wizkid, you just knew Masta Blasta was going to win. If the carnival was a movie that dance segment would have ensured it didn’t get a PG rating. They were that good, in a naughty way.
Hope you enjoy the photos below.