If variety is the spice of life, this year’s Northern Arts Festival should add a burst of flavour and delight to every arts connoisseur’s palate.
The second edition of the event, which has been lauded by national government, will take place from September 25 to 28 at Van Der Kemps Kloof in Bethelsdorp.
National and international artists, storytellers, singing groups, culinary presentations, art exhibitions and film screenings are only some of the highlights that are set to catapult this home-grown festival to the forefront of the South African arts festival scene.
Packed with surprises, the Northern Arts Festival will be building on its first year’s success when more than 60 000 people streamed through the gates. The organisers have carefully selected new events, while preserving the successful core recipe from last year.
Northern Arts Festival founder, Billy Paulson, says the objective of the festival is twofold.
“First of all, we want to make art and the performing arts accessible and meaningful to a wide audience. At the same time, it is also a vehicle to draw visitors to the region,” he says.
“We are tailoring the festival to showcase the wealth of talent in Nelson Mandela Bay by providing a platform for local performers, and also to expose the community to national and international acts such as Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels and Dawnay.”
“This (2008) festival will include both established and emerging performing and visual artists and crafters, thereby creating an opportunity for young up and coming local artists to demonstrate their many talents,” Gwendoline Mahlangu-Nkabinde, MP and acting Speaker of the National Assembly, said late last year.
She also acknowledged that Bethelsdorp has a unique history that has been lost over the years and that this festival will help make people in the metro more aware of its heritage and proud of its vibrant past.
More than 50 artists and in excess of 20 groups will be on the programme for the four-day festival. It includes a vast array of genres under the visual and performing arts umbrellas – topped off with an air show!
“We are very blessed that most of our sponsors from last year are on board again,” says Paulson. “The festival provides excellent exposure and artists or corporates who still want to get involved, are welcome to approach us.”
The Bilson Music Awards will form part of the opening ceremony on the Thursday evening, featuring celebrities like Zane Meas from SABC2’s 7de Laan.
Apart from world-class entertainment, the event will afford students and young people the chance to identify career opportunities in the arts through its Career in Arts Exhibition on the Friday.
Beyond the arts-based events, the festival will be a great excuse to enjoy four fabulous days sampling indigenous cultural cuisines and to meander through stalls in the Kloof.
According to Paulson, most of the events are free and will take place in Van Der Kemps Kloof, with some being hosted by the Congregational Church.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Northern Arts Festival