Let the party begin… but Ragers urged to not lose their heads when letting their hair down 

Plett Rage Student Festival
Published: November 26th, 2015

While thousands of matrics are getting ready to let their hair down and celebrate the end of their school careers, behind the scenes of South Africa’s biggest student festival organisers and other role-players are working around the clock to ensure yet another successful event – YOLANDÉ STANDER reports

Plett Rage Student FestivalJUST days ahead of the 13th Plett Rage festival, most boxes have been ticked – a packed line-up has been finalised, a security plan is in place, restaurants and businesses are stocked up and bracing, and accommodation establishments are bursting at the seams.

Come Friday, about 15,000 students are expected to descend on the usually tranquil town not only to enjoy what Plett has to offer but also to get a front row seat to performances of some of SA’s biggest names in the music industry.

This year’s line-up includes 21 acts, up from last year’s 14, and will showcase some of the country’s top artists and DJs who will all perform at the main festival venue at VIP Super Club in the town’s industrial area.

Among these artists are 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.

An extensive plan is in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly and young festivalgoers are safe. Festival security coordinator and chairman of the Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association Bruce Richardson said Plett by comparative standards was a safe environment with very low levels of violent crime.

Plett Rage Student FestivalHe added, however, that 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.

He added a major advantage that Plett had in facilitating security arrangements was the “exceptional working relationship and level of cooperation” between the various policing and security components.

Richardson said to achieve the best possible outcome they adopted a “multi-layered approach” involving cooperation between local police, Bitou law enforcement, the local traffic department, Medlife paramedic services, a qualified security company from Cape Town, as well as local security companies and neighbourhood watch volunteers.

A dedicated Plett Rage transport system has also been implemented through the local taxi associations, with drivers and vehicles undergoing strict safety checks monitored by the local traffic department.

plett-ragePolice spokesman Lieutenant Marlene Pieterse said teenagers were urged to take safety precautions to ensure an incident-free festival.

She said some of the main precautions youngsters should implement was not to have bags, cellphones, briefcases or other valuables visible in their vehicles.

“Never open your vehicle window or door for any strangers,” Pieterse said. She added festinos should avoid isolated ATMs or using ATMs late at night. She further added that youngsters should not be drinking on the beach, or swim or walk alone.

“Do not leave your belongings unsupervised, especially on the beach. Don’t drink and drive, and say no to drugs and substance abuse.”

Pieterse said she also advised youngsters to walk in well-lit busy streets in a group where possible, and not to leave a party or social event with someone they did not know or have just met.

Garden Route Media