Splash Festival

SPAR Eastern Cape’s decision to back Nelson Mandela Bay’s Splash Festival is rooted in its commitment to boost local entrepreneurs and performers still battling the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Never before has the popular Easter holiday event carried a retailer as its title sponsor and the two-year commitment by the Nelson Mandela Metro-based company promises huge value to festivalgoers.

The family retailer, which has enjoyed a long association with the Bay’s Summer Season programme, was looking to become involved in a high-traffic festival experience and the Splash met every requirement.

“With the worst of Covid-19 behind us and the Splash Festival making a successful return last year, it was a no-brainer for us,” said SPAR EC advertising manager Roseann Shadrach.

“The festival not only offers families so many great activities to enjoy but also supports entrepreneurs and local vendors,” which, she said, was the key driver in putting the SPAR name to the event.

The economic havoc small businesses and performing artists, in particular, had suffered as a result of the pandemic was not lost on the group and, as such, it was committed to assisting them get back on their feet.

To this end, SPAR EC more than doubled the budget for local artists to over R500 000.

“We thrive in supporting local and are cognisant of the fact our local artists and business community have not really had a chance to recover. There were no live shows and nothing else was happening,” explained Shadrach.

Splash Festival

The 2023 SPAR Splash Festival will have it all, from South Africa’s best performing artists and cooking demonstrations to food trucks and kiddies’ entertainment. The weekend is ideal for families looking for adventure right on their doorstep. Picture: SUPPLIED

“This year we’ve seen a record number of artists put their names forward, which is incredibly heart-warming.”

They will perform alongside the likes of the Queen of Zulu comedy Celeste Ntuli, Mi Casa lead singer and chef J Something, Dames hitmaker Biggy, performer Buhle and funnyman Gino Fabbri.

Food vendors who depend on events for their livelihoods have also not been forgotten with the public able to sample their products in the Coca-Cola Food Truck Court.

Last year, more than 30 food stalls turned over an average of R50 000 for the weekend. The busiest food truck grossed over R250 000.

The beauty of having a large title sponsor was that there was greater scope for innovation and therefore more opportunities to generate much-needed revenue, added Shadrach.

The retailer has not been short of innovation itself. For example, it is adding its own flavour to the food demonstration tent by branding the attraction We’re for Flavours – an extension of the group’s ongoing We’re for Smiles campaign.

Another new item on the programme is the SPAR Easter Egg Hunt which, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, will bring smiles to thousands of little ones.

“The Splash Festival is such a multifaceted event. You’ve got volleyball, five-a-side soccer, pony rides, kids’ activities and a beach run – and that’s just a small sample,” said Shadrach.

“This partnership is so much more than just a branding exercise. We are helping to bring smiles to families, create jobs and give artists the chance to perform again.

“It ticks all our boxes.”