Felabration 2017: How a British-Nigerian got show cancelled at Notting Hill Carnival
Police Asked For Show License During Sound Check
Detailsof how the much hyped Felabration 2017 — the annual remembrance celebration of the late Afrobeats legend and social critic, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, meant to commemorate the 20th year of his passing on at the Notting Hill Carnival was cancelled on Monday have emerged.
The Guardian gathered the live performance, which was billed to hold at the popular London festival was cancelled due to license expiration, and the event could not following the organisers inability to secure a new license.
Fans and followers of the late Abami Eda (the mystery one), who had thronged to the specially designated Felabration park on the last day of the two-day carnival, with hope of seeing scion of Afrobeat maestro, Femi Kuti and his sister, Yeni, live performance were hugely disappointed.
Many fumed after being told that the local council did not grant the organisers licence for the show to go on. The real story, including a timeline of behind the scenes last minute cancellation drama can now be revealed.
In an exclusive chat just after 9pm on Wednesday, a confidant of Femi, told The Guardian how a 50 years plus old British-born Nigerian woman resident in London, messed up the show.
“The project leader messed up everything and disappeared from the carnival ground that afternoon. This so-called project leader monopolised the discussions of the event between the organisers and the Notting Hill Trust. She did not allow anyone else to be part of the negotiations,” a source revealed.
“Considering that she is not even in events management, three months ago, concerned people in the committee raised the issue of licence needed for live performance and to sell alcohol with her, she said it had been sorted. She just insisted on handling all the negotiations about it alone,” the source added.
Asked when they knew the show would not take place, the source said: “it was that morning. As Felabration had been billed to start at noon, I knew there was something wrong when we came out to do the sound checks at 10.30 in the morning. The police came to us and asked for the licence for the performance. It was not until then that the organisers knew the show might never take place.
“Even then, they could still have done something. But the project leader said she was going to sort things out. Besides, you know our people, they were just exercising, blind faith. The most annoying thing was that she made everyone believe everything will be okay till about 4.30pm, when she just disappeared from backstage,” where Femi and the rest of the band and organisers were patiently hoping to get the green light to get on the already prepared stage.”
The Guardian source also noted, “if only the British-Nigerian woman had let them know on time, they could still have gone ahead with the show. “Reason being that there was already a licence in place. It was there that WhizKid played on Sunday night during the Red Bull musical academy show. The licence only expired in the morning. All we needed was to extend the licence, but everyone was kept in the dark by this project leader.”
Asked if she has since offered any explanations for what happened, the source said, “no, that’s even annoying. After she disappeared from backstage on Monday, she switched off her phone and as l’m speaking to you, her phone is still off and she’s not been responding to anyone’s calls.”
Reacting to the situation Femi Kuti said, “we trusted people who live in the UK and are supposed to know the rules but they let us down and we can’t even find them to tell us the truth. We have learnt a big lesson but we assure all lovers of Felabration that next year will be stronger and better.”