Felabration 2018… Legendary 80th posthumous birthday for Fela

Late Fela Anikulapo

From all indications, this year’s edition of Felabration is going to be Legendary!

Aside from enjoying strong backing of Nigerian Breweries Plc through its Legend Stout brand, the recent visit by the French president Emmanuel Macron to the New Africa Shrine has indeed opened a new phase in the life of the festival, which was initiated to celebrate Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who died on August 2, 1997.
 
A music festival, Felabration celebrates Fela’s life, his enormous influence on Nigerian society, and the Afrobeat genre.

The weeklong concert maintains the same infectious energy that Fela possessed decades ago, bringing a wealth of artists from all over the world to keep the rhythm pulsing.
 
This year’s edition is themed Overtake Don Overtake Overtake. In the song, Fela sang about the effects of usurpation of power and the degradation of fledgling African democracies.

His grievance is that, in saner climes, the duty of the armed forces is to defend and support the civil government; not to overthrow it or usurp the duties of any branch of government
 
Today, Nigerian artistes and international acts grace the stage with notes of Afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B and jazz, among many others.

The amount of talent that descends upon this West African hot spot speaks volumes about Fela’s status as a global icon.

The festival will showcase music performances, free medical services, public lectures and other musical concerts.

It also includes various creatively diverse activities such as The Fela Debates, symposium series, the secondary schools’ debate for schools in Lagos State, Dance Troupes, Photo Exhibitions, The Fela Street Carnival Parade with musical floats and costumed dancers.

 
As usual, Legend Extra Stout will be joining millions of Nigerians to celebrate the music legacies of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as the official stout sponsor.

The brand also intends to reward thousands of guests at the Afro-beat event.

Initiated by Yeni Kuti, Fela’s first child, in 1998, a year after his death, the idea is to get the world closer to the Fela spirit.

This annual music festival runs for a week with different events from the concert to the dance and symposium.

As the years go by, the festival features a different theme and continues to grow with more licenses signed across the world by fans of Afrobeats and those who truly believe in who and what Fela was.

This year, Legend Extra Stout will be bringing the New Afrika Shrine and every other location in Lagos where people will gather not only to celebrate another edition of Felabration but Fela’s 80th birthday, alive with excitement and its unique bitter tasting stout.

For Legend, this is more than just an event sponsorship but an expression of the brand’s DNA and core values, which includes, Authenticity, Courage and Freedom.

From October 15 till October 21, fans will have the privilege to enjoy the richer taste of Legend Extra Stout as they celebrate afrobeat and reminisce the stories Fela told in his days and how they are still relevant in today’s world.

Over the years, Legend Extra Stout has brought fanfare to music lovers with previous editions of Felabration and the Real Deal Experience.

Fun seekers coming to celebrate the Afrobeat king can do so in a relaxed environment where they can feel the richness of the Nigerian music and the amazing taste that Legend Extra Stout brings. Fela is a legend and will always be celebrated as one.

Fans are expected in Lagos from around the world to honour the mark Fela made in the world music scene, as well as the inspiration he has given to younger talents coming out from Africa.

In July, French President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to the New Africa Shrine to honour Fela, and there will be no surprise if he and other prominent persons like him join in the October celebrations,

Some of the acts, who have performed at the music concert include Femi Kuti, Asa, King Sunny Ade, 2Baba, Lucky Dube, Nneka, Awilo Longomba, Lagbaja, Wizkid, Burna Boy and many more.

A lot of fans will be looking out for moments like Wizkid’s electric performance with Femi Kuti in 2017.

Meanwhile, Rainbow College, Surulere, Lagos, has emerged the winner of this year’s FELABRATION Secondary Schools Debates.

In the opening event of this year’s festival held inside the Freedom Park, Lagos, Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Ikeja, Lagos came second, while the third place winner is the Ipakodo Senior Grammar School, Ikorodu.

With topic State Police In Nigeria; To Be Or Not To Be, Ten secondary schools participated in the Wednesday October 10, 2018, finals, which included five public secondary schools and five privately owned ones.

Contestants were judged on the introduction, content, presentation and debating skills.

The first prizewinner went home with one laptop and a mobile phone, while the second and the third got a Samsung Galaxy and Techno Tablets respectively plus a phone each. However all the ten participating schools went home with a piano each.

The Felabration organising committee donated all prizes.

The schools debate is a segment of the festival where Secondary Schools children are given a platform to argue and debate some burning national issues. It is a way of sensitising the youths to stand up to the call of patriotism.

Apart from the top three schools, Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, Dr. Lucas College, Aunty Ayo International School, Ikoyi, Lagos, Epe Girls Senior High School, Epe, Lagos, also contested. Others are Herbert Macaulay High School, Ajara Senior Secondary School and Ejigbo Senior High School, all in Lagos.

This year’s event also had an innovation introduced to the segment. Contestants were required to give a talk on what they know of FELA.

Vivian Fowler Memorial College won the maiden edition of this aspect, with a (N20, 000) twenty thousand naira only, cash gift.

Speaking to journalists after the event, Founder/Executive Producer Yeni Kuti and Chairman of the planning committee Theo Lawson, reiterated the fundamental ideals of the festival, which celebrates the life, times and music of the Abami Eda.

Folded fists in the air, bare torso, a partly painted face and signature tight trousers, a man greets a cheering crowd eager to hear him sing and have his queens move their energetic melanin bodies to the sound of his band.

The crowd continues to cheer as he sings, and swings his body to different sides while stamping his left foot in rhythmic fashion, but those, who know these stuff of Legends, know that in those lyrics are clear messages for the people, who need to hear them.

The brevity of a man willing to tell his story in its truest form, and have fun while at it.

For 21 years, the world has tried in different ways to celebrate Baba’s music Legacy, and teach people what the man stood for, ensuring that we continue to fight the kind of battles he fought in largely better ways.

By all ramifications, Felabration has become the most widely accepted of these platforms for celebrating all the great things that Fela stood for in the music industry.

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