Last weekend of fest

PROFITABLE PLACE: The popular Village Green at the National Arts Festival Picture: SUPPLIED
PROFITABLE PLACE: The popular Village Green at the National Arts Festival Picture: SUPPLIED
The last weekend of the National Arts Festival is here, marking the end of another remarkable experience for business owners and culture lovers.

Grahamstown has been a hub of activity for masses of festinoes who trekked from far and wide to the university town for their yearly dose of arts and fun.

With more than 100 musical performances, plays and dance productions to choose from, festival lovers have had a wide range of fun-filled moments to tick off on their bucket lists.

The weather has been great, with sunny skies and warm days – totally different to some previous below-zero years.

Jean-Louise Parker, of Johannesburg-based indie music group Academie, said she’d had a memorable time.

“The atmosphere has been great. Our band has been getting incredible shows, and I’ve managed to squeeze in a few cool shows to watch in between. I’ve always been a fan of the Jazz Festival, so I’m really excited about that.”

Eastern Cape business owners, crafters and artists have also reaped the benefits.

Marlon and Selina Dragner of Nelson Mandela Bay brought their Belgian waffle and ice-cream food truck for the first time. “It’s been going really well so far.

“This platform is bigger and better for business, and we’ve had a great response from the crowds,” they said.

“Our stuff has been sold out on some days.”

Lisa Hurtler, also from the Bay, said her Makoy food truck had received rave reviews from food lovers.

“We offer special treats like sticky beef burgers and ginger infused chicken wraps.

“Our pulled pork buns with Coca-Cola and beetroot chutney have also been a hit,” she said.

As one walks down Somerset Street into jazz town, music hits your ears from all corners.

Stationed behind the Festival Gallery like a well-kept secret is the Laphum’ilanga Marimba Band, whose beautiful melodies draw one from across the road. The music ensemble consists of two visually impaired men and a blindfolded woman joining

the band.

Partially sighted Richard Nzwana, the founder of the band, said he “loved sharing his musical gift with the world”.

Rhodes students Jared Barker and Christo Kruger said they decided to stay on campus because they are “enjoying the festival”.

“There’s lots to see and do.

“The shows are great, we’ve watched some amazing productions.

“Out of Bounds has been our best one yet. Everyone should watch that.”