The weather may not have played ball, but that did not stop people having one at the 2023 SPAR Splash Festival.
Despite the entire first day and final afternoon of the event being called off due to high winds, the festival delivered in-between as visitors flocked to the new Kings Beach venue over the rest of the Easter weekend.
Festival organiser Darren Mungur, of Soul Good, said while Friday obviously had been a disappointment, there had been a “very good turnout” on the second day.
The return of Wrestle Monster after a hiatus of several years was every bit the success people expected. Body slams and daredevil antics brought huge cheers from a Nelson Mandela Bay audience who are always game for top-class wrestling action.
Mungur said another highlight were the cooking demos.
“We had Zola Nene from Expresso, a sold-out show for J’Something and then it culminated with another sold-out show for his music performance on Saturday.”
Sunday was also a “brilliant day”.
The Galaxy Bingo Beach Arena was a new addition this year and the numbers had been extremely high, he said.
And while wind was the major factor in keeping entries low for the 4.5km beach run on Sunday, the “key objective” there had always been for the little ones to have fun and, in this regard, it delivered.
Selvi Govender, working at daughters Keshnee and Ranee’s food stall, said the family would be back next year, even if the weather gods did not play along this Easter.
“With Friday being cancelled, it essentially meant usual Friday trade happened on the Saturday. People love our product and it showed.”
She said the Splash Festival was always a great idea for traders, especially when the Gqeberha weather was good.
Even those who initially went home returned later to enjoy performances at the We’re for Flavours food demonstration tent and main stage.
Festivalgoer Erica Scanes visited with her nine-month-old baby on Monday.
“I came on Saturday but because of the wind and having my daughter with me I left early.
“But I wanted to see it this year. We hardly have anything in PE so it’s good to support the event.”
Another young mom, Gaylene Petersen, with her two-year-old daughter in tow, loved the festival for its “good vibe” and bringing people together.
“I prefer this venue to the old one at Hobie Beach. It just feels safer and there is more space for parking.
“I’m looking forward to coming again next year.”
The SPAR retail group came on board as the title sponsor for the first time and advertising manager in the Eastern Cape, Roseann Shadrach, was more than happy given the weather conditions.
“From a brand perspective it was about delivering a quality event for the weekend and I think we have achieved that,” she said.
“All things considered, people have turned up in their numbers and in terms of the ethos and pillars that make up the SPAR brand – entrepreneurship, family and healthy lifestyles – we’ve ticked every single one of our boxes.”
Food vendors and artists suffered during the pandemic and for SPAR to have been able to provide a platform for them to generate an income over a long weekend despite the challenges meant the festival had been a success, she said.
“We saw artists this weekend who probably haven’t been able to perform for three years. Aside from J’Something they are all from the Bay, which is really special.”