Par­ty­ing up a storm in Plett

Thou­sands at an­nual Rage fes­ti­val of live mu­sic, rave venues and beach fun

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NEIL OELOFSE

THOU­SANDS of Cape Town ma­tric­u­lants have joined the an­nual pil­grim­age to Plet­ten­berg Bay to cel­e­brate the end of their school years with the two-week Plett Rage.

The Plett Rage is billed as “South Africa’s long­est run­ning stu­dent mu­sic fes­ti­val” which of­fi­cially started on Novem­ber 26, but the south­ern Cape coastal town only started fill­ing up this week. “We’re here for the party, beer and girls,” said Zan­der Turner, a 19year-old first-year stu­dent who ar­rived yes­ter­day.

Turner is back for his sec­ond Rage, hav­ing en­joyed a “lovely, lovely” time last year when he at­tended as a ma­tric­u­lant.

“Plett is the per­fect spot for a ma­tric rage,” added Sig­mar Rosen­thal, 19, from Cape Town. “Great weather, warm ocean… and all the ma­tric girls from up­coun­try.”

Chris Ver­maak, from Port El­iz­a­beth, is in Plett for the Rage to do pro­mo­tional work for an al­co­hol com­pany. “The work is hec­tic, all day at the beach and all night in the clubs, but it’s great to be here.”

Ri­aan Oosthuizen, man­ager at VIP night­club which pulls in “any­thing be­tween 2 500 and 3 000” pa­trons a night when the Rage is in full swing, said: “We are al­ready very busy and things are pick­ing up nicely. We are go­ing to have a lot of fun over the next week.”

This year or­gan­is­ers ex­pect 16 000 ma­tric­u­lants from ev­ery cor ner of the coun­try to de­scend on Plett for the Rage, which has be­come an in­sti­tu­tion since it was con­ceived – in a mas­ter stroke of tourism mar­ket­ing – 10 years ago.

What started as a mi­gra­tion of a few hun­dred school leavers to Plett to at­tend a suc­ces­sion of small par­ties to­gether has grown into a full-blown fes­ti­val of live mu­sic, rave venues and beach par­ties.

“Ev­ery­one who makes a liv­ing from the tourist in­dus­try in some way or an­other – prob­a­bly 90 per­cent of the town’s per­ma­nent res­i­dents – reap the ben­e­fits of the fes­ti­val,” said Bi­tou mu­nic­i­pal­ity tourism head Dianna Martin.

“Not only do con­sid­er­able amounts of money flow into Plett over the fes­ti­val pe­riod, the real boon for the town fol­lows for decades af­ter­wards with the re­turn of these young adults to Plett for hol­i­days, hon­ey­moons and even to start busi­ness ven­tures. And ev­ery year we get a fresh batch of young­sters to in­tro­duce to the plea­sures of Plett.”

Mea­sures have been taken to en­sure that the kids can have fun in a se­cure and safe en­vi­ron­ment. There is zero tol­er­ance for drink­ing and driv­ing and drugs, “but the au­thor­i­ties do turn a bit of a blind eye to the rest of the bois­ter­ous be­hav­iour that comes with the ter­ri­tory”, said Martin

Im­por­tantly, 24-hour trans­port has been laid on for easy ac­cess to Rage venues such as the VIP night­club, Cen­tral Beach and the town cen­tre, each about a kilo­me­tre apart.

This year Cen­tral Beach is the “fes­ti­val home”, where volleyball matches and mini soc­cer games have been ar­ranged as a back­drop for thump­ing DJ ses­sions, cour­tesy of a mas­sive PA sys­tem set up on the beach across from the Bea­con Isle Ho­tel.

Things get even louder at night at the VIP night­club, thank­fully tucked away in the in­dus­trial area.

Among the coun­try’s top DJs lined up are 5FM’s Roger Goode, DJ Fresh, Eu­phonik, Lady Lea and Good­luck.

Pur­chase of a “Plett Rage Pass­port” for R650 buys a drinks voucher, ac­cess to all the clubs and trans­porta­tion over the en­tire event.

De­spite all the pre­cau­tions, “in­ci­dents” do oc­cur how­ever.

Last year a young man was charged with drunk driv­ing af­ter he ap­par­ently fell asleep while driv­ing through the town cen­tre at 7am af­ter an all night party. The car knocked down a pedes­trian and smashed into a con­crete dust­bin, while an oc­cu­pant in the pas­sen­ger seat slept through the en­tire saga – in­clud­ing when po­lice ar­rived to march the driver off to the nearby po­lice sta­tion for blood tests. – Gar­den Route Me­dia

PIC­TURES: GAR­DEN ROUTE ME­DIA

PARTY ON: Cape Town stu­dents Zan­der Turner, Sig­mar Rosen­thal and Luwig van der Merwe get in the mood for the Rage.

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