The first edition of the Escudo Rojo Carnival took place yesterday at the famous Oke-Arin market in the busy
open market district of Lagos Island, entertaining traders, shoppers, bystanders, and commuters stuck in the Lagos traffic with a colorful display of dance, circus performances, and music. Tourists, shop-owners, guests, and participants defied the sunny harmattan weather to revel in the sheer novelty of a roving carnival, as the carnival train snaked it was through Isah Williams Street, Ofin Road, and the famous Tinubu Square – the highlight of the carnival was when the charismatic Nigerian musician W4 (often described as the great Fela’s incarnate), took the stage to perform his chart-topping hit single “ wa gba control”, literally causing a huge traffic in front of the UBA Building in Marina, as hordes of passersby and commercial bus drivers paused in their strides to enjoy the electrifying performance.
Thomas Frotte, the Export Manager of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, proprietors of the Escudo Rojo wine brand described the carnival experience as magical saying, “ Escudo Rojo is not our brand anymore, it is the Nigerian people’s brand, we just planned this carnival to let the market people of Lagos have a good time towards Christmas, but what they did was they took over the carnival and made us have a good time – they copiously displayed cartons of Escudo Rojo wine in front of their shops, decorated their shops in our colors – they made us understand that the Nigerian people drink the wine and they love it, so they were happy to host us, and we just had a great time together, and I must add – this is the biggest event we’ve had in Nigeria”
It wasn’t just a fun galore all the way, as almost everyone who joined in the fanfare received a gift from the Escudo Rojo team. T-shirts, hats, and bottles of wine were given away during the various dance competitions, and raffle draws in the market. According to Alex Kothoor of GDN Nigeria, the essence of hosting the carnival in the open market was simply to show the brand’s appreciation to the dedicated traders, and to express Escudo Rojo’s commitment and affinity to its trade partners and consumers.
“wine is meant to be shared, not to be enjoyed alone” Thomas Frotte quipped, “and in that spirit, we’re sharing our wine, along with our spirit of fun and love with Nigerians this season, and going by the success of this carnival, I’m positive we’ll do another one next year around this same time.”