The Paramount Chief of Effutu Traditional Area, Neenyi Ghartey VII, is in favour of the Masquerade Street carnival, which has gained a lot of popularity in recent years to be a national event.
This is because the event, which is huge in places such as Winneba and Takoradi, had created other forms of festivals that could be explored for the utmost interest of the advancement of the arts and tourism industry.
Explaining to Graphic Showbiz, Neenyi Ghartey VII was very self-assured of the huge makings such a move would have on pushing the frontiers of the diversity of Ghana’s culture and subsequently create a festival with a universal look that could compete with famous festivals such as Rio Carnival in Brazil.
“These street carnivals are increasingly gaining attention and attracting both international and domestic tourists who travel across the nation to see and experience them. We could have a large event like the Rio Carnival in Brazil, which has grown to be one of the largest street carnivals that attract visitors from across the world if we carefully plan and give them the attention they require.
“That can be another source of tourism income and even increase the number of tourist attractions in the country when we come together and build a strong Masquerade Street festival,” he said.
He also noted that the various Masquerade groups locally known as Ankos should be supported financially, as well as their activities well promoted for the growth and sustainability of the festival.
“You would realise that putting together costumes for the big day takes a lot of work, therefore, it would be convenient if there were sponsorship packages from stakeholders to various groups to assist defray the expense of the cost of putting together the festival. For instance, the hiring of brass band and cost of costumes,” he said.
Speaking to the concerns and proposal by Neenyi Ghartey VII, the Director for Policy Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Commission on Culture (NCC), Richardson Commey Fio, disclosed that efforts were being made to give a national appeal to the Masquerade Street festival.
He said the NCC had started interactions with the Takoradi Federation to make the festival a national one.
“The commission is looking forward to harmonising the management and functions of the groups and instituting a common festival to promote unity, value addition, exchange of knowledge and expertise to increase the promotion of their activities.
“The general observation is that street festivals have come to stay as a force to ignite passion and interest in celebrations of all kinds. From traditional festivals and marketing of products to religious activities, etc., carnivals have served as platforms to expand the reach to a wider audience.
“I believe that if these various federations and their operations are well harmonised and managed under the leadership of the NCC with the active partnership of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Masquerades/Fancy Dress Street Carnivals will be a heavy contributor to Ghana’s GDP through earnings of tourism, fashion and music activities,” he said.