Claire Johnson and the rest of the Mango Groove band stole the show on the last day of the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival as they kicked off their Big World Party national tour under leaden skies on Easter Monday.
“It is a privilege to perform in front of you all in your beautiful city,” the group’s lead singer welcomed the crowd. “Thank you for coming out in the cold. We won’t bore you – that’s a promise.
After opening the show with “Hometalk” and “Move Up”, Johnson announced to the audience that their first national tour in almost a decade was “starting right here and now”.
They proceeded to reel off the rest of their well-known hits, including “Moments Away”, “Dance Some More” and “Another Country”.
They also performed four songs from their new album Bang the Drum. Of these, “Everyone’s Dancing” and “This is not a Party” was performed live for the very first time.
“One is always a bit anxious performing songs for the first time, but I thought they were well-received,” Johnson said afterwards while signing autographs.
“It is lovely that the public came out in this weather to support us. I was concerned when I saw the weather forecast, but things worked out well.
“The people here have a warmth and friendliness. It truly feels like coming home.”
She said the band had played at the very first Splash Festival twenty years ago, “so that makes today extra special”.
“Considering that we had all four seasons in four days, we are pleased with how well the festival was supported,” said festival director Glenn van Eck.
He believed this was largely due to the diverse and full programme. “There was something for everyone to enjoy.”
Van Eck said the feedback from stallholders was that they did exceptionally well. He said several stalls, including the new lifestyle section, had to restock after the first day and some vendors reported doubling their turnovers compared to last year.
Earlier in the day, the international water sport programme was concluded with the King of the Bay elimination races.
In the men’s swim, Durban’s Luke Nisbet took the honours ahead of Australia’s Andrew Mosel and Bulgaria’s Petar Stoychev.
Australia’s Candice Falzon beat compatriot and world champion Melissa Gorman and Durban’s Michelle Eder in the women’s event.
The surf ski discipline was won by Cape Town’s Sean Rice and the Malibu board by Mosel.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival