41st fest pumps new energy through chilly air

Standard Bank young jazz and blues pianist Nduduzo Makhatini shook the floorboards and blew the minds of fans at his Listening to the Ground show on Saturday night.

Nduduzo Makhathini
Nduduzo Makhathini

The air was cold, but the festival pumped with fresh art, comedy, theatre, dance, music, and craft.

Former Cambridge High School pupil Athi-Patra Ruga, a Standard Bank Young Artist award winner for performance art, stormed the festival with his series The Elder of Azania.

And in one of the weirdest but most playful riffs heard in 41 years of festival, Dutch composer Jacq Palinckx used a blue vibrator on his slide guitar to enter a new realm of rock, causing two elderly festinos to leave the Graham Hotel venue at midnight on Saturday.

Audiences were in raptures with KZN Philharmonic violinist Joanna Frankel’s emotionally charged performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Saturday night at the Guy Butler Theatre.

Irish superstar comedian Dylan Moran’s full-house performance of Off The Hook received a huge ovation at the same venue before his show had even started.

In fact standing ovations rocked the night, with James Cairn’s El Blanco emerging as one of the Fringe smash hit shows. At 2.30am musos were still playing for each other in High Street.

Among the glitches was a boo-boo from technician Stefan Hurter who had multiple jobs on the Main programme show, the Pieter-Dirk Uys-directed African Times.

While keeping technical staff going behind the scenes, he also had to be the Orwellian voice of “Vorster” which boomed out over the loudspeaker during the play.

“Instead of speaking to the tech staff in my one mic I got confused and spoke into the stage mic, saying: “What the f… is going on?’

lThe Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) has announced a new deal with the National Arts Festival.

Addressing 50 reporters at the traditional media breakfast yesterday, CEO Vuyani Dayimani said they were were aligning their tourism strategy with the festival. He said ECPTA recognised the NAF as a “signature event” and a “catalyst driving tourism” in the province. “It’s the mainstay.”

NAF and ECPTA are negotiating a five-year collaboration deal.

The NAF attracts millions to the province and bucks the trend of a decline in tourism.

NAF CEO Tony Lankester welcomed the new relationship.

“NAF would not be possible if it were it not for sponsors such as Standard Bank, the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture and the National Lottery.” — mikel@dispatch.co.za

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