UPDATE: Organisers made a tough decision to officially cancel the VOC Summer Festival 2017, due to the gale force winds that have wrecked havoc in the Mother City. The festival, which was meant to take place at Vygieskraal stadium in Athlone this weekend, was hampered by strong, gusty winds since Saturday morning. The festival convening team said they were advised by the Venue Operations Centre that the festival could not continue due to damage caused by the wind overnight. Upon inspection on Sunday morning, it was found that the tea garden marquee had dislodged and parts of the stadium roof blew off overnight. For the safety of the public, organizers have decided to call off all activities at the stadium. Assessments are being conducted by disaster management officials.
“Public safety is of utmost priority. The wind is not in our control. We wanted to have a magnificent festival but Allah SWT has other plans,” said Rashaad Frydie, head of the festival convening team during the announcement live on air on Sunday.
Festival convenor Gasant Fridie apologised to vendors, exhibitors and sponsors who are an instrumental part of the festival. The team is expected to meet with all stall-holders on Sunday morning to discuss the way forward.
“We humbly apologise to all role-players for the cancellation. At the same time, we say thank you to them for their patience and understanding during this challenging time.”
The festival convening team made a call to close the festival by 5pm on Saturday due to the increase in wind speed. Earlier in the day, a beam from the tea garden marquee had narrowly missed two women who were inside the tent. In addition, the corporate exhibition had to be closed, due to the potential risks for festival-goers visiting the marquee.
Since Saturday morning, the festival convening team had been in consultations with the venue operations officials and disaster management teams to monitor the situation on an hourly basis. According to wind readings, the wind speed had increased throughout the day.
For festival-goers who had been eagerly waiting for the annual tea-garden breakfast, organisers will postpone the event. Given that tickets for the breakfast were pre-sold, the festival convening team said they would not disappoint the festival-goers. An announcement on the venue and date will be made in due course.
Meanwhile, the tea garden cake sale will go ahead today. Coordinator Achmat Jacobs said due to the effort put in by the volunteers in acquiring the cakes and savouries, the cake sale will take place at 18 Denton Road in Kenwyn. The public is urged to support the cake sale.
To accommodate those who bought tickets to the cancelled VOC breakfast this morning, the convening team have managed to secure an alternative venue. Jacobs said the event will now take place at Ghousia Manzil hall in Rylands Estate this Tuesday at 6.30pm and will be a supper. The event is open to all festival-goers who bought tickets for the breakfast. The Legend Tours Turkey competition draw will take place at the event. VOC