Plett busi­nesses eye R30m Rage with en­thu­si­asm

16 000 ex­pected to de­scend on town

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - YOLANDE STANDER and JOHN HAR­VEY

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

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE

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.

PIC­TURE: EWALD STANDER

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.

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE

READY FOR THEM: Po­lice will be on alert to make sure road rules are obeyed.

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