The History of FESTAC’77 – Second World Black and Festival of Arts and Culture.

The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC’77. The Festac ’77 cultural festival was held in Festac, Lagos, Nigeria. It lasted for 18 days and aimed to showcase African cultures concerning arts, music, literature, history, and politics. Festac 77 was held from 15th January to 12th February 1977; more than 2 million people attended the event. Thirty-two countries were represented at Festac including Ethiopia, Tanzania , Guinea , Somalia , Cameroon , Zambia  and many others.

Nigeria was invited to hold the second festival in 1970 so as to promote a continuation of black unity through cultural festivals. The event was hosted by then President of Nigeria. President Olusegun Obasanjo. Although it should have been held in 1974 but due to the unrest of the country during that period it was shifted to 1975 and then 1977.

Aim of FESTAC 77 Festival

To ensure the revival, resurgence, propagation and promotion of Black and African culture and black and African cultural values and civilization;

To present black and African culture in its highest and widest conception;

To bring to light the diverse contributions of black and African peoples to the universal currents of thought and arts;

To promote black and African artists, performers and writers and facilitate their world acceptance and their access to world outlets;

To promote better international and interracial understanding;

To facilitate a periodic return to origin in Africa by black artists, writers and performers uprooted to other continents.

Effect Of Festac 77 on Lagos Nigeria.

The event was so big that the Nigerian government had to build a 5000 capacity National Theatre (The culture house) along with 10 other venues for the shows.

Also for the festival a 5000 unit of high end luxury apartment was built in festac town for the incoming visitors and performers. Several road networks was about in the state for this event

An estimated amount of $400m was spent by the Nigerian government to organize this event.

The emblem at FESTAC 77 – Second World Black and Festival of Arts & Culture.

The Benin Pendant Mask an iconic image of Benin art was chosen as the official emblem of the pan-Africanist FESTAC 77 cultural festival in 1977.

Song and musicians at the FESTAC 77 event in Lagos

The festival saw that several musicians from all over the world performed at the event. With steven wonder as main headliner of the event and fela Anikulapo kuti were also other top performers like:

King Sunny Ade, Chimureng, Andrew young, Ted Joans, Craig Harris, Ayo Bankole, Americans Sun Ra, Donald Byrd and Archie Shepp; Gilberto Gil from Brazil; from the Caribbean, the Trinidad All-Stars Steel Band and calypsonian the Mighty Sparrow, whose performance left behind a Nigerian craze known as discolypso; Miriam Makeba from South Africa; and Osibisa, the African/Caribbean funk band from London etc

Anthem at the Festac 77 Festival

Let a new earth rise

Let another world be born

Let a bloody peace

Be written in the sky

Let a second generation

Full of courage issue forth

Let a people loving freedom

Come to growth.

Let the martial songs be written

Let the dirges disappear

Let a race of men now rise

And take control.



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