Grahamstown National Arts Festival 2016
Eastern Cape Festivals
The Grahamstown National Arts Festival is the largest and most colourful cultural event in Africa. In 2016 the event will be staged from the 30th June to 10th July. The population of Grahamstown's almost doubles with over 50 000 visitors. They come from far and wide to take in a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment. The festival offers over 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comics and folk music.
The festival is very diverse offering something for everyone including techno raves, medieval banquets, craft fairs, cyber cafes, carnivals, buskers and walking tours.
You will also find on offer market products ranging from tie-dyed T-shirts and woven rugs to handmade jewelery and customized telephones. The festival operates out of the 1820 Settlers National Monument and is organized by the Grahamstown Foundation.
This festival, now in its 41st year, is very popular so booking accommodation early is imperative.
There’s plenty on offer for free – from the legendary SAfm Sundowner Concerts (17:00 daily in the Monument Foyer); Art Exhibitions; Street Theatre; and “craft gazing” at the Village Green Fair and Church Square.
Apart from the restaurants and food stalls on the streets, most venues offer a steady supply of sustenance at all hours. Alcoholic beverages are on sale at many venues.
The Transnet Village Green
The Transnet Village Green Fair is home to some of the best craft and crafters South Africa has to offer. Handpicked for their fine work and dedication to their craft, most of these artists will be present to talk to you, and to showcase their work.
Give yourself a couple of hours (or days!) to wander the maze of marquees at the Fair. Explore the amazing talent of some extraordinary artists, and pick up some of their work to take home with you. It’s unquestionably the most interesting collection of tastes, sights and sounds you’ll ever find in one place. Then, when you’re on the verge of dropping from all the shopping, you can get a meal from the food court, or enjoy some spontaneous outbursts of AMAZING! The kids play area will feature performances, clowning, puppet shows and activities to keep them occupied throughout the day.
If you’re wondering where to find the latest sporting action, the Beer Garden includes flat screen TVs so you don’t need to miss a single second.
The adjacent Steve Biko Building houses a host of exhibition venues, a box office, a restaurant and the Cuervo Music Room, and will be wi-fi enabled, making sure that those who want to stay connected with the outside world have plenty of opportunity to do so.
The Fringe is a hotbed of innovation and packed with shows you will love discovering. Keep plenty of time on your schedule for the ‘hot buzz’ shows – the unexpected hits that have everyone talking, and the recipients of the coveted Standard Bank Ovation Awards which are handed out from day one of the Festival. The Fringe invades Grahamstown’s CBD with a huge variety of arts offerings that see seasoned pros and feisty newcomers united in the spirit of expression. They come from all nine provinces of South Africa as well as Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, the UK, the USA, Australia and the Netherlands.
Follow this link to view the Main and Arena programme of events at Grahamstown National Arts Festival