Partying up a storm in Plett
Thousands at annual Rage festival of live music, rave venues and beach fun
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
PARTY ON: Cape Town students Zander Turner, Sigmar Rosenthal and Luwig van der Merwe get in the mood for the Rage.