Crowds celebrate Brazilian culture at inaugural festival in Hastings

Visitors taking part in BrasilFest. Picture by Alex Newman
Visitors taking part in BrasilFest. Picture by Alex Newman

The first ever festival in Hastings celebrating the rich culture of Brazil saw more than 1,000 people flock to the event.

BrasilFest was held on The Stade on Saturday (June 10), as part of Stade Saturdays and organised by charity OcaBrazOka with the support of the Foreshore Trust.

Welcomed by a yellow Beetle car from Brazil and the Hastings drumming group Dende, children made elaborate headdresses and upcycled clothing into bright costumes, while adults sat in the bright sunshine sipping caipirinhas (Brazilian cocktails).

Hannah Bicat, capoeira expert, then introduced the Afro-Brazilian martial art cum dance to enthusiastic young children and adults alike.

Her group moved outside to form a Great Wheel of Capoeira, accompanied by more stirring drumming.

The action moved to the main stage with the vibrant music of Brazilian jazz singers Marcelo Andrade and Adriano Adewale, followed by the gorgeous displays of Gladyslatinart, performing Maracatu, Maculele, Gafieira and Frevo (umbrella) dance, interspersed with popular song and dance from Elisangela Mahogany. The evening ended with a huge party, bringing together all the day’s performers and the children in their costumes.

Mauricio Vincenzi, OcaBrazOka co-founder, said: “We are over the moon with the result. It was professionally organised and delivered. We had an amazing team of volunteers and all the various people involved worked perfectly to the plan. I have lived in Hastings for 12 years and I can truly say this was the best festival I have ever attended. The Foreshore Trust and both the council’s arts and community cohesion departments all supported us marvellously. We are very hopeful we can offer something similar, if not better, in the future.

“The variety of Brazilian food on sale from Junior’s Café was also unsurpassed in Hastings.”

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