Sambamania gripped Hastings on June 10 as the town held its first ever BrazilFest. More than 1000 people turned up for the event which was held at The Stade as part of Stade Saturdays. The event was organised by the OcaBrazOka charity together with the Foreshore Trust. Both adults and kid were present for the event with former enjoying the sun as they sipped caipirinhas while the latter made costumes from upcycled clothing and elaborate headdresses.
Both kids and adults were also introduced to the now famous Afro-Brazilian martial art, capoeira by Hannah Bicat, an expert in the dance cum martial art. Accompanied by stirring drumming, Hannah and her team formed a Great Wheel of Capoeira outside before the show then moved to the main stage. Brazilian jazz singers Adriano Adewale and Marcelo Andrade enthralled the crowd with the vibrant tunes before the stage was taken over by amazing displays of Gladyslatinart, Frevo dance, Gafieira, Maculele and Maracatu. In between these performances, the crowd was also entertained by song and dance performed by Elisangela Mahogany. At the end of the evening, there was a huge party during which all the children in their costumes and the performers for the day were brought together.
OcaBrazOka’s co-founder, Mauricio Vincenzi stated that they are quite pleased with the result and the whole show was delivered as professionally as it had been organised. He pointed out the amazing work the volunteer team and how everyone involved had executed their roles perfectly. Vincenzi added that this was the best festival he had attended in his 12 years living in the town and he also added that they had received a great deal of support from the council’s community cohesion and arts departments and from the Foreshore Trust and they were hopeful that something similar or better could once again be put together in the future. He also pointed out that the quality of the Brazilian food that was on sale at Junior’s Café was the best he’d had so far in Hastings.
OcaBrazOka is a community organisation that was set up in Hastings on in January 2017 for the purpose of promoting Brazilian culture in the area. The organisation is open to all people and is meant to be a platform for sharing the diversity of all things Brazil including the music, dance, cuisine and folklore.