Unexpected delights at Plett ARTS Festival
For those fortunate enough to be in Plettenberg Bay at the beginning of October, the Plett ARTS Festival provided a bouquet of arts entertainment that ranged from Main Street to the rose garden of Bosky Dell, from the Keurbooms River to the big blue sea, and from formal art galleries to pop-up events at some of Plett’s favourite venues. All across town, colourful galleries bloomed, land art was created on the beaches and performances blossomed in unexpected places. All ripe for the picking.
Plett outdoor spaces were set to take centre stage this year after a difficult 2020, which saw Plett Tourism, with the help of Wesgro (the Western Government marketing and investment agency), and a full complement of local artists put on a sterling live-streamed Plett ARTS Festival. The town had been anticipating moving the festival back to the streets, supporting our artists, and taking arts and creativity to unexpected places. For 2021, Wesgro again supported Plett Tourism in creating a palette for artists to shine.
“Thank you very much for always creating platforms for the artists. I feel a lot of people didn’t know I existed, but because of you more people do. You manage to make something out of a small budget to give us the necessary exposure.” – Maphiko Mncedisi Ncedani, aka DJ Jazztrainlive
Highlights of the festival included a fashion showcase, Nvulu by textile artist, Naomi Franklin, at Barrington’s, two sold-out concerts at Bosky Dell Farm & Rose Garden, and Main Fact at N2 Lounge, which sold the most tickets of any event on the festival calendar. Exhibitions of art, sculpture, furniture, and more were on show all around town highlighted by the always-festive Plett ARTS Twilight Meander, which showcases exhibitions, restaurants, and shops along Plett’s Main Street. This proved both a delight and economic boost for stores that have been through a difficult time due to lockdown: “We were open yesterday during the Twilight Meander and our hidden spot in the Courtyard was found by SO many people!! And we didn’t close until after 8. Thank you for all your effort. Yesterday’s turnout attests to your great planning and effective promotion of the Festival and Plett.” – Reidwood Furniture, Main Street
Festival director, Cindy Wilson-Trollip says: “Plett hospitality was at its best, including the glorious spring weather. The town tourism sector and artists collaborated to make the festival happen and the pervasive atmosphere of celebration lifted spirits across the boards. Our thanks to those who attended the shows and supported artists who for a long time have been without work. Thanks also to festival partners Bitou Municipality, Melvilles Corner and the Bayview Hotel.”
“We had such positive lovely comments from everybody and a steady flow of visitors every day! It was a fabulous idea to have the working studio vibe as no one was ever alone,” adds Jill Forbes of the Plett Arts Association of their exhibition at the Piesang Valley Hall.
The final exhibition was a transient Land Art piece by local charity, People of Love, who centred their creation around the theme of LOVE with a heart-shaped installation on Central Beach inviting visitors to add red earth or painted stones to the piece – effectively filling our hearts. A fitting end to a Plett ARTS Festival aimed at reinvigorating Plettenberg Bay and shining a spotlight on the arts community.
Plett Tourism CEO, Patty Butterworth finishes off by saying: “The Plett ARTS Festival educates and inspires people of all ages about the arts. Art in tourism can be viewed as a partnership between culture and the tourism industry by creatively increasing what is unique about a community. The heritage, artistic and cultural life of an area attracts tourists and creates better quality of life for those who live there.”