From the news desk

Festival organisers grateful for community support

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VOC’s festival convening team and staff might be tired, groggy and bleary-eyed on Monday, but they can smile knowing that another successful festival was pulled off. With the start of the December festive season, the VOC Summer Festival 2016 ushered in summer (and some wind) with a fantastic line-up of events at Vygieskraal stadium over the past weekend. Organisers estimate that about 20 000 people attended the event from Friday to Sunday.

While the bustling wind played a major factor in less people attending on Friday evening, as usual, Saturday was the busiest day, with a surge in traffic to the stadium at night. Entertainment hubs such as the teagarden and main-stage were packed to capacity.

“Saturday’s attendance was phenomenal and it was a roaring success. Sunday afternoon also drew in the usual Sunday numbers for the lunch time period,” said festival convenor Achmat Jacobs, the vice chairperson of the Muslim Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Board of Trust.

“On Saturday, you could hardly move through the stalls.  I’m sure everyone had some good trade.”

Organisers said they brought a new dimension to the festival with the involvement of SSS Sports, a local sports organisation that facilitated a number of sporting codes at the event. Through their participation, hundreds of youngsters from impoverished community in the Western Cape took part in various tournaments.

Jacobs said Saturday’s soaring heat did not deter the sporting activities on the track and field. This year, the Mini Olympics added a fresh aspect to the festival, as the event was open to teams from the community.

But he conceded that there had been some concern over the lack of fun rides, which is a major attraction to the festival.

“We have to apologise for the rides. For circumstances beyond our control, we could not have the rides. However, when I saw the audience at the teagarden and the entertainment arena, there was so much youth.”

For any festival or event of this magnitude, Jacobs said they were cognisant of the logistical challenges of supplying electricity, water and other infrastructural needs.

“When we have a generator that has blown in the peak time, it becomes a huge challenge and how you address it is important. We always have contingency plans in place and fortunately, we could fix it in time,” he said.

Now that the event is done and dusted, the festival convening team can breathe a bit easier. But not before de-briefing on the past festival and working on the plans for the 2017 event.

“The complements from listeners and festival-goers have been positive. We say a huge shukran to all those who supported,” said Jacobs in conclusion.

“We also need to praise the convenors, VOC staff, volunteers, festival partners, sports coordinator and entertainers for their hard work.   To all the businesses and stallholders who participated, we thank you for your continued support.” VOC

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