Plett’s Rage fes­ti­val set to be big­ger, bet­ter

Thou­sands of matrics ex­pected

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - YOLANDE STANDER

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.

PIC­TURE: GAR­DEN ROUTE ME­DIA

PARTY TIME: School-leavers let their hair down at Plett Rage last year.

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