From the news desk

Die-hard festival supporters turn up in numbers

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“Come rain or shine. No matter what happens, we are there!” These were the emphatic words of some die-hard festival-goers, who braved Saturday’s mid-afternoon heat for the summer vibe of the VOC Summer Festival at Vygieskraal stadium.

More than 10 000 people made their way to the festival complex on Saturday, with a surge early evening for the supper run and the popular evening entertainment.

In the morning, hundreds of kids were treated to VOCs annual Kiddies party, where there were fun games and competitions. Most elderly spent their time in the teagarden catching up with old friends while listening to relaxing to Cape Malay choirs or local bands. By early evening, it was reported that teagarden had reached capacity, as hundreds of festival goers tried to get a spot in the marquee.

For most families, the stall area was the place to be, with the food stalls experiencing bumper traffic. Other festival goers made sure they could a bargain at the non-food stalls. On the field, scores of teams had fun in the Mini Olympics.

“It’s very hot today. But it’s nice just being here with the people, the vibe’s great,” said Fa-eez from Paarl.

“We are enjoying ourselves every much. The weather is fantastic,” said Rayana Davids said Maitland.

54 year old Suraya Allie, who came with her two sisters, said the festival was their favourite event.

“We always come together and we have the best time. There’s nothing like the community feeling that you get here.”

According to Nuraan Rylands, the festival was important for social cohesion.

“This event is such a significant part of the social fabric of our community. We have so many differences, but as a community we love supporting this station.”

“I never miss the festival. I can’t even walk properly but I’m here. I love this station too much,” said 72 year old Fatgiyyah Samsodien.

While the weather played along on Saturday afternoon, there was some disappointment for many youth who found there were no fun rides.

14 year old Lailah Samson brought along a group of friends, to let their hair down after the end of exams.

“We came here specifically for the fun rides. So it’s definitely not the same for us,” she said.

Kashifa Ryloen, a mother of three energetic boys, was equally disappointed.

“The rides are the main attraction. My boys are bored out of their mind. We come every year, just so the kids can have fun.”

“It’s very nice, but we miss the rides. The stalls are great and the crowd is nice,” said Malick, who came with this wife Yusrah and his son Ameer.

In response to the many enquiries about the absence of the fun rides, festival organisers said there was a breakdown in communication with the service provider.

“The VOC Summer Festival convening team had a relationship with a fun rides company who did the previous two festivals at Vygieskraal stadium. They delivered their equipment on Tuesday morning and started assembling the rides units. On Wednesday morning they reported that certain components of their equipment were illegally removed by unknown persons,” said Rashaad Frydie, the head of the festival convening team.

They felt then that the festival would not be safe for their equipment overnight despite the fact that their own staff would normally sleep in their caravans to secure the equipment. For some reason this did not happen on Tuesday night and they then expected the festival organisers to have provided security.”

Frydie said the company was “not very amenable to discussion on the matter” and was adamant that it would be in their best interest not to do the rides for the festival due to the above security issue.

“We humbly apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused and undertake to arrange for another operator to assist VOC with rides for future festivals, Insha Allah. This matter will be pursued for final resolve after the festival,” Frydie concluded. VOC


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