Plett’s Rage festival set to be bigger, better
Thousands of matrics expected
PLETTENBERG Bay is set for more than 15 000 school-leavers preparing to descend on the coastal holiday town for its annual matric festival.
A packed line-up has been finalised, security measures are in place, most accommodation establishments are fully booked and restaurants and other businesses have called in extra staff to cater for the influx of youngsters heading to the area for the 13th Plett Rage festival, which blasts off just over a week from now.
Organisers believe this year’s festival – set to run from November 27 to December 7 – will not only be bigger in terms of activities and performances, but they also expect an attendance increase of between 7 percent and 15 percent.
Event spokesman Anita Sikutshwa said this year’s festival would include 21 acts – up from last year’s 14 – among them some of South Africa’s top artists and DJs who will all perform at the main festival venue at VIP Super Club in the town’s industrial area. On stage will be Goldfish, Desmond and the Tutus, Matthew Mole, Pascal and Pearce, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Jack Parow and PHFat.
“For the first time an international act, a DJ from the Netherlands called Michael Williams, will be performing this year,” Sikutshwa added.
For the thousands of schoolleavers, the 10-day event is all about celebrating their newfound freedom. But the festival has grown into one of the town’s single biggest events in terms of economic impact too.
A survey released by organisers this week showed last year the event not only gave the town a R48 million economic boost, it contributed up to 85 percent of some businesses’ annual revenue.
The survey, which included information from several local restaurants, showed some establishments experienced a 100 percent increase in sales over the festival period. Among the more upmarket restaurants this figure was between 25 and 45 percent, while cafés and restaurant franchises showed an increase of between 50 and 100 percent.
Most restaurants also discolosed student spending during the event accounted for between 30 and 85 percent of their annual income.
“We are very busy during Plett Rage and I think it has a lot to do with our special offers we run over this period, specifically aimed at the youngsters,” owner of Le Fournil, Florence Chabanel, said.
The Table restaurant in the town’s main street is packed over the 10 days. “We are fully booked right from when we open at 12 noon until we close. We also bring in extra staff to assist with the influx of patrons and this continues throughout the holiday season that follows Rage,” The Table administrator Leanthea Kleynhans said.
All restaurants surveyed indicated they employed additional staff – some even up to 12 additional employees.
On the accommodation front, the survey showed more than half the establishments canvassed boasted a 100 percent occupancy rate during the festival period, while the rest ranged between 80 and 94 percent.
Bruce Richardson, festival security co- ordinator and chairman of the Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association, said Plett was a comparatively safe environment with very low levels of violent crime. But he said there were always those who might seek to take advantage of young people “who are letting their hair down after the stress inherent in writing examinations, and are consequently not necessarily as security conscious as they would be under normal circumstances”.
“Taking care of a very large number of such persons presents a significant challenge, and we understand the necessity of rising to meet that challenge,” Richardson said.
To achieve the best possible outcome, they adopted a “multi- layered approach” involving co-operation between local police, Bitou law enforcement, the local traffic department, Medlife paramedic services and a qualified security company from Cape Town, as well as local security companies and neighbourhood watch volunteers.
A dedicated Plett Rage transport system would also be implemented involving the local taxi associations. Drivers and vehicles would have to undergo a strict safety check.
PARTY TIME: School-leavers let their hair down at Plett Rage last year.