Tens of thousands of people packed out Hobie Beach as the traditional fireworks pierced the night skies on the second day of the Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Surveying the crowd that had gathered in near-perfect weather conditions for R&B superstar Loyiso Bala’s show, which took place straight after the pyrotechnics, programme coordinator David Limbert said he could not remember ever seeing a larger one.
“The vibe is fabulous – it’s such a buzz,” said 18-year-old Andisa Langa of KwaZakhele in the Bay, summing up the atmosphere. “I’m one of Loyiso’s biggest fans.”
Earlier, festivalgoers were mesmerised by Canadian singer Justin Hines who wrapped up his 40-minute set with the smash hit “Say what you will”.
He was met with loud cheers when he told the capacity crowd assembled in front of the Magnetic Storm stage that he had never seen “so many beautiful smiles” on his world travels.
Fans held signs aloft bearing the words “a song can make a difference” and “thank you from the bottom of our hearts” in appreciation of his Justinspired campaign that has resulted in makeovers for 20 local township schools.
“He was a huge hit – as we knew he would be,” said Limbert.
He said Pretoria rockers Wrestlerish – who were on-stage before the Algoa FM Fireworks – were gobsmacked by the sheer size of the festival. “In fact, most of the national acts made similar comments.”
Limbert said the whole day’s line-up, which kicked off with children’s theatre show Peter Pan and the Pirates in the morning session, had drawn big audiences.
Bay FM’s Search for a DJ contest – which occupies the late evening slot on the first three days of this year’s festival – continued to be one of the outstanding successes, he said.
The day got off to a wet start with Slovenia’s Rok Kerin and Cape Town’s Dominique Dryding winning their respective categories in the eight-kilometre Bell Buoy Challenge open-water swim.
Festival director Glenn van Eck said the day warmed up nicely after a chilly start, drawing a steady stream of visitors throughout. He said stallholders reported brisk trade and there had been no incidents.
Limbert said Sunday’s programme included the Izani Siqubhe swim and Die Burger Sand Sculpture competition in the morning followed by The Bridge Easter Egg Hunt and jazz in the early afternoon.
The Comedy Festival – featuring the likes of Roland Gaspar, Michael “The Fly” Arthur, Barry Hilton, Tumi Morake and Kurt Schoonraad – and the Search for a DJ final are the evening highlights.
Visit www.splashfestival.com or the official Facebook page for more information.
Canadian singer Justin Hines, R&B star Loyiso Bala and the Algoa FM Fireworks (photos attached) were part of the entertainment on day two of the Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival. Photo: Richard Huggard, Snapz
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival