By Ma­ri­ët­te Bur­ger Get fe­s­ti­val re­a­dy!

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Briewe | Letters -

On­ce a­gain, we must com­mend the or­ga­ni­sers of the Ka­roo-lus Fe­s­ti­val for their com­mit­ment and de­di­ca­ti­on.

And sin­ce the e­vent is so c­lo­se, it’s ti­me for us to get ex­ci­ted a­bout at­ten­ding.

The­re are ma­ny re­a­sons for us to be sup­por­ti­ve.

Be­si­des it being a fun, well-ma­na­ged fe­s­ti­val, the e­vent of­fers a host of e­co­no­mic and so­ci­al be­ne­fits to the com­mu­ni­ty.

The e­co­no­mic be­ne­fits are the e­a­siest to see - the fe­s­ti­val at­tracts vi­si­tors, which sti­mu­la­tes the gro­wth of tou­rism and ot­her bu­si­nes­ses in the to­wn.

The so­ci­al be­ne­fits of the fe­s­ti­val are less vi­si­ble, but they are just as im­por­tant.

I think its fair to say that, sin­ce in­cep­ti­on, t­his fe­s­ti­val has con­tri­bu­ted im­men­se­ly to fee­lings of so­ci­al co­he­si­on in Graaff-rei­net - one of the be­st thing a­bout Ka­roo-lus o­ver the y­e­ars for me has al­ways been that the or­ga­ni­sers con­sis­tent­ly try to in­vol­ve as ma­ny mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty as pos­si­ble with the plan­ning and hos­ting of the fe­s­ti­val it­self, cre­a­ting an op­por­tu­ni­ty for towns­folk to fos­ter a sen­se of pri­de and enga­ge with all secti­ons of the com­mu­ni­ty.

In my ca­reer at the Ad­ver­ti­ser, I've seen few e­vents ac­com­plish t­his to the sa­me de­gree.

The main be­ne­fit? S­tron­ger re­la­ti­ons­hips. Most of the re­la­ti­ons­hip-buil­ding of any fe­s­ti­val u­su­al­ly occurs in the fe­s­ti­val plan­ning pha­se - t­his is w­he­re the bonds a­mong pu­blic and pri­va­te or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons, lo­cal go­vern­ment, and neig­hbour­hood groups are f­or­ged and w­he­re con­necti­ons a­mong e­lected of­fi­ci­als, staff, vo­lun­teers and in­te­rested re­si­dents are ma­de.

As­su­ming e­ver­y­thing el­se g­oes well, the pa­yoff to t­his re­la­ti­ons­hip-buil­ding is a success­ful fe­s­ti­val. But the be­ne­fits last well beyond the e­vent, as pe­op­le con­nect who would ot­her­wi­se ha­ve con­ti­nu­ed to o­pe­ra­te in si­los.

Con­necti­ons are the "glue" that hold com­mu­ni­ties to­get­her. Wit­hout them, a com­mu­ni­ty stag­na­tes and the qua­li­ty of li­fe de­cli­nes. Ex­perts call t­his glue so­ci­al ca­pi­tal, so vie­wed through t­his lens - t­his fe­s­ti­val has, o­ver the past eig­ht y­e­ars, play­ed a vi­tal ro­le in in­cre­a­sing the so­ci­al ca­pi­tal that ma­kes for a he­althy Graaff-rei­net com­mu­ni­ty.

Un­for­tu­na­te­ly, t­his y­e­ar Graaff-rei­net will ex­pe­rien­ce its last Ka­roo-lus. A hu­ge loss to all of us.

I ho­pe Graaff-rei­net­ters will ta­ke t­his last op­por­tu­ni­ty to ce­le­bra­te, en­joy the food, mu­sic, cul­tu­re, art and mo­re - ma­ke the most of w­hat Ka­roo-lus has to of­fer!

With Graaff-rei­net’s we­alth of cul­tu­re, her­i­ta­ge and won­der­ful way of li­fe, it on­ly ma­kes sen­se that we ho­nour and ce­le­bra­te w­hat we ha­ve with a fe­s­ti­val just as u­ni­que as the to­wn we lo­ve.

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