Can Bole Festival Become Africa’s Biggest Street Food Festival?

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Bole is a street food in Nigeria made from plantain. However, the first edition of the Bole Festival was in 2016. At that time, the organizers offered vendors free spaces to empower them. Consequently, the event became an avenue for food vendors to showcase their creativity with Bole. The Bole Festival is growing steadily every year; but, can it become Africa’s biggest street food festival?

The Bole Festival began in 2016 with only 300 people in attendance and two Bole vendors. The following year, the population of attendees and vendors had grown to 2,000 and 35 respectively. However, the 2018 edition had 8,000 attendees and 80 vendors making the Bole Festival the biggest in the southern part of Nigeria. Now, the festival offers 200 stall spaces for businesses to display their goods

Bole and roasted fish

The socioeconomic impact of the festival

The one-day event celebrates the rich heritage of the Niger Delta through food. Besides the food, the Bole Festival records side attractions like comedy and music performances, indoor and outdoor games, food competitions, and so on. The winners of the various competitions smile home with a prize.

During the festival, vendors usually record sales of over 200%. Consequently, they gain new clients and expand their business. The theme of this year’s Bole Festival is; “Our Taste, Our Culture”. The date for this year’s festival is 3rd August in Port-Harcourt. According to the Bole Festival website, the aims and objectives of the festival are as follows:

  • Provide an avenue to directly interact with your target audience
  • Embed your brand in all experience shared, captured and discussed
  • Boost affinity for your product by orchestrating personalized experiences with your product
  • Provide an opportunity for additional brand visibility

Bole Festival brings out the creativity in serving roasted plantain

Bole sandwich

Roasted plantain and roasted fish are the most popular street foods in southern Nigeria. Vendors continually create new variations. The serving will vary significantly depending on the part of the country you find yourself. In Bayelsa and Port Harcourt, for example, it is served with roasted fish, pepper sauce, and potato or yam by the side. In Akwa Ibom, expect special sauce and roasted chicken to come alongside your bole.

Bole Festival has attracted sponsorship from top brands. The organizers have also built an interactive community for epicureans. Besides the food and fun activities, the festival also has a strong urban appeal. Thus, adults of all ages seize the opportunity to socialize.

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