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Brazilica Festival was hailed a sizzling success this weekend as thousands of people came from far and wide to enjoy Liverpool’s International Samba Festival on Saturday, 16th July.
There was a jubilant carnival atmosphere in the city as crowds lined the streets to watch the spectacular Brazilica Carnival Parade which made its way from Abercromby Square, along Hope Street, Hardman Street, Bold Street, and Church Street, before finishing at the Whitechapel Junction.
And even the sunshine made an appearance, after weeks of rotten weather, to ensure there was no rain on the parade!
Over 750 people took part in the incredible Parade from the UK, Brazil, Europe and even as far as Singapore, filling the streets of Liverpool with colour, music and a sensational carnival atmosphere.
There was music and dance from 22 bands including Paraiso School of Samba, Samba Masala, Katumba, Morro 16, Sambafriq, Manchester School of Samba, Pulse of the Place, Liverpool Samba School, Hull Samba, Oxiris Wirral School of Samba, Oya Batucada, Karamba Samba and World Wise.
Meanwhile, the dancers dazzled in their glitzy, glamorous carnival outfits – with more feathers and sequins than you can shake a drumstick at! Not forgetting appearances from dancing horned devils and drumming policemen!
The festival fun started on Friday 15th July, at PanAm Restaurant and Bar. The heat was on as nine amazing samba dancers battled it out for samba supremacy in the ever popular Carnival Queen Competition. Hosted by The Guide’s Ellie Phillips, there was a fantastic turnout for the event which saw the 2015 Carnival Queen Melinda Adams hand over her crown to Paris Thompson from Paraiso School of Samba. And Singapore band Samba Masala brought the house down with their fabulous Brazilian beats.
This year, Brazilica teamed up with Liverpool BID Company to host the Main Carnival Day in the city’s Commercial District which was transformed into a sizzling hotbed of colourful carnival action with a packed programme of live music all day long.
Around 15-20,000 people headed to the Main Stage in Derby Square to see the samba dance shows, and listen to Brazilian bands and DJ sets, playing everything from samba and funk to bossa nova. Crowds were also able to sample a taste of Brazil at the many food stalls selling Brazilian food, caipirinhas and Brazilian beer.
And after the parade, the party continued at The Arts Club on Seel Street, home of Circus and Chibuku, hosted by carnival DJs with live performances from visiting samba bands.
The festival came to a climax on Sunday afternoon with samba performances in Church Street and Clayton Square.
Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID Company and vice-chairman of Liverpool’s Visitor Economy Board, said: ‘’Brazilica is a unique festival and the injection of colour, sound and vibrancy it brought to the city centre this weekend was just fantastic. The atmosphere was brilliant and to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves was a real thrill.
“Everyone involved should be immensely proud. It also showed what a huge asset we have in Derby Square and we’ll be looking closely at how we continue to use and animate this vital space.’’
Maeve Morris, Festival director of Liverpool Carnival Company, was delighted with the turn out for Brazilica 2016, she said: “It was amazing to welcome so many bands and samba schools to Brazilica 2016 who came from across the UK, Ireland, France, Singapore and Brazil and made Brazilica 2016 a celebration of colour, music, dance, friendship and happiness!
“And it was wonderful to host the Main Stage in Derby Square for the first time with such a great family atmosphere.
“Thank you to all the volunteers who have been giving a hand over the last few days, weeks or months and to all the visitors and the people of Liverpool for making Brazilica such a joyful event and a huge success year after year!!
But the fun isn’t over just yet, you can still sample the Brazilian culture at the Brazilica fringe events which have been running all over the city. Award-winning wildlife photographer, Joao Marcos Rose, is exhibiting his incredible images of biodiversity and conservation at St George’s Hall until Friday, 22nd July.
Plus, a Brazilian Film Festival runs until Saturday, 6th August at various locations through the city showing films celebrating Brazilian life and culture, from biographies and documentaries to comedy and drama. Most are free to attend.
The UK’s largest Samba Carnival event, Brazilica has become one of the flagship events of the year in Liverpool’s festival calendar attracting over 60,000 visitors to the city centre.
Liverpool Carnival Company are now looking ahead to next year, and have started to plan Brazilica 2017 with samba bands from France and Spain already asking to take part. Every year, the company set the bar higher in their efforts to improve the festival and always succeed in finding ways to bring it back bigger and better, so get set for another Brazil-iant event in 2017!
To get involved in Brazilica Festival 2016 as a media partner, sponsor or volunteer or for more information please visit the website at https://brazilicafestival.co.uk
Follow on social media at www.facebook.com/brazilicafestival Twitter – @BrazilicaFest
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