The metro gave the organisers of the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival a vote of confidence when they announced on Monday that they would double their financial backing of next year’s event.
The 19th edition, which returned to its traditional home at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth this year, ran from Easter Friday to Monday.
Deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni confirmed on Monday that council would be increasing their sponsorship after one of the most successful festivals to date.
He said it was important to grow the event, which had a huge soccer component, in the lead-up to 2010.
“It is an important vehicle in promoting the city and its status as a World Cup host city,” he said. “More importantly, it is imperative to build the event beyond 2010.”
Ndoni said the Splash was a huge brand for the city and that the metro and the private sector needed to take advantage of this. “I call on businesses to follow our example and support the event in the future.”
Personally, he said, he was “very excited” and “impressed” with this year’s festival. “The turnout and the mood were fantastic.”
Although official attendance figures were not yet available, co-organiser Doug Pudney from Frontier Events estimated that more than 300 000 people visited the festival on the opening two days.
“Even though the wind was terrible on Sunday, the crowds were still beyond expectation.” He said Hobie Beach was yet again packed to the rafters on Monday.
Don Tarloff, a regular stallholder, said the event was well-organised and definitely the best in recent memory. “The organisers did a fantastic job and it is difficult to complain about anything.”
He said he travelled to festivals around the country and that the standard of this year’s Splash was “absolutely” up to standard.
The results of a twice-daily survey conducted by the organisers echoed Tarloff’s sentiments.
“One of the interesting facts that came to light was that respondents said they would visit on subsequent days to enjoy other items on the programme,” according to Lwazi Gobone from Frontier Events.
He said it was also interesting to see that people from all demographics supported the festival and enjoyed it together. “It proves the programme catered to everyone’s needs.”
The highlight on the final day was local swimmer Kyle Main’s double crossing to the bell buoy from Hobie Beach. He became the first to do so when he completed the 14-kilometre swim in three hours and seven minutes.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival