Plett businesses eye R30m Rage with enthusiasm
16 000 expected to descend on town
WHILE it may be a cliche, this year’s annual Matric Rage in Plettenberg Bay is shaping up to be “bigger and better” than its predecessors, with many businesses expecting that the event will once again generate about R30 million for the local economy.
With guesthouses, hotels and backpackers fully booked since April, the coastal town’s population is well prepared for the arrival of about 16 000 matrics who will descend on the town to celebrate the end of their school careers.
The official organisers of the 10-day Plett Rage festival have also lined up arguably the country’s best bands and dance acts for this year’s event.
Bitou Municipality spokesman Kholiswa Masiza said Plett Rage was the biggest annual event on the town’s tourism calendar, injecting about R30m into the local economy.
“We believe the matrics will have a lot of fun and enjoy our town, the facilities provided and the way we care for them and that a significant number of them will return with their families one day and be our future tourists and residents.
“In other words the festival is seen as an investment in the future,” Masiza said.
The event also directly gen- erates short-term employment opportunities and indirectly supports long- term jobs by “bringing prosperity to the town”.
With so many youngsters gathered in one place, safety concerns are obviously paramount, but Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association chairman Otto Olivier said police, security companies and volunteers had the situation well in hand.
“We are going to have a lot of visible patrols. Various areas in town will be cordoned off after a certain time at night to ensure the teenagers can walk around safely. There will also be a medical tent for emergencies,” Olivier said.
Plettenberg Bay police spokeswoman Lieutenant Marlene Pieterse said the town’s police service would be bolstered to ensure the event ran smoothly.
With festivities and enjoyment ultimately the point of Plett Rage, organisers of the official entertainment programme have pulled out all the stops for this year’s event.
Event director Anthony Jacobs said some of the country’s “hippest” bands have been booked including Goldfish, Mi Casa, Goodluck and Heuwels Fantasties.
Jacobs said the event had grown over the past few years from about 2 000 youngsters to this year’s expected 16 000.
With so many matrics descending on a small town, it was to be expected that accommodation facilities have been turning away bookings for months.
“We have been fully booked since April already,” said Gerhard van Vuuren, manager of Amakaya Backpackers which is located close to the town’s bustling Main Street.
“We love having the matrics here, and all our 60 beds are taken. In terms of behaviour you can’t be a Teddy bear all the time, and sometimes you have to put your foot down, but mostly our guests are well behaved.”
Arch Rock Chalets and Caravan Park spokesman Cathy Britz said the facility was fully booked into January.
Lara Hall, of Lucky Student Packages, said the business had “sold out of virtually all our accommodation”.
Restaurants are also bracing to cater to the teenagers who spend much of their days frequenting the establishments.
Plettenberg Bay Tourism spokesman Peter Wallington also projected the event would be “bigger and better” than previous years. – Garden Route Media
END OF YEAR JOL: Drum and bass sensation, Niskerone, from Mitchells Plain will be one of the many acts that will pump up the revelry at Plettenberg Bay’s Matric Rage.
PARTYING IN PLETT: Waiters from left Michael Peter, 28, Charlton van Rooyen, 26, Arizonia van Rooyen, 24, Ian Pepler, 26 and Louise Nelson, 39 at a popular pub on Plettenberg Bay’s Central Beach are bracing themselves for the thousands of teenagers set to descend on the holiday town for the Plett Rage starting next week. The pub and grill is set be a hive of activity as the beach will be one of the main venues for this year's festival.
READY FOR THEM: Police will be on alert to make sure road rules are obeyed.