To many, especially tourists who have made Osogbo their destination every August to partake in the annual Osun Osogbo festival, the countdown has begun for the 2019 celebration. And for them, it is a time to have fun while some , especially the worshippers and many foreigners see it as a time to commune with their inner being through the Osun deity.
However, few people know that before the August celebrations, there are many rites that have to take place before a successful festival. Indeed, the traditional rite for the festival span a period five months as it starts in March when many people that will be a part of the festival are yet to start planning.
Though the festival is being rebranded this year for wider reach to further boost the economy of the town, spread the tentacles of the event and increase its appeal, with a new consultant; Esquire Global, taking over, the essence of the celebration remains the same.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, Esquire Global, the consultant for the 2019 Osun Osogbo festival, represented by Williams Derrick, stated that though they are working on various new things to further make the celebration bigger, they are not in any way touching the traditional aspect or the essence of the celebration which is steeped in traditional belief and is part of the history and heritage of Osogbo town.
According to him, Esquire Global is not just going to jump in and say it is changing the face of Osun Osogbo festival. “We are not just going to come in, jump on it and say we are bringing this and this on board. What we intend to do is to carry the people of Osogbo along because anything we are going to do, we will be using the citizens from Osun. Though we will get one or two help from outside but 80 per cent of the project we will work with will be Osogbo indigenes on ground; be it in wood work, printing, tie and dye, metal work, exhibitions or whatever.
“We are doing our homework and we will ensure we work together with the indigenes to get things in shape and retain the essence of the festival while giving it a new look. The first step is to see the Ataoja and the Ataoja- in- council to know their expectations and how best to work things out without deviating from their plans, tradition and expectations to have a fantastic outing in terms of culture, tourism and preservation of heritage.
“We have done this; we know what they want and how to blend it into our own plans. But with time, you will see the new things that will evolve and definitely, everyone will know a new consultant is on board,” Williams stated.