We want more! This was the rallying call from the crowd when the clock struck 12 at the 2016 DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival at Westridge Gardens, which attracted more than 41 000 people over the weekend.
Founder of the Mitchell’s Plain Festival, Rozario Brown, described the festival, which ran from Friday November 25 to Sunday November 27, as “absolutely phenomenal” and “successful”. Mr Brown said about 32 000 attended the event on Saturday November 26.
The festival line-up included more than 60 entertainers and DJs.
The SANDF, including the SA Army, Navy, SA Airforce and SA Medical Services also had a number of displays over the festival weekend.
People actively participated in the competitions, sang and danced to the music and entertainment, and engaged in the activities such as rides, car and air shows.
Mr Brown said more than 8000 people received free hampers and sponsored food parcels.
He added that in the event’s eight-year existence, there had been a five to 10 percent increase in attendance year on year, while this year there had been a 20 percent increase.
“This is unprecedented. The public really responded positively to our call for them to come out and celebrate the 40th anniversary of our community. We believe that the weather, the stellar entertainment line-up played an important role in getting these supporters to the festival,” he said.
Mr Brown said he would judge the the success of the event on safety, whether festival-goers had been happy and whether traders had made money.
“Mitchell’s Plain (residents) showed an interest in their community, and have taken ownership of the festival, which is absolutely fantastic. The overwhelming majority of traders and exhibitors expressed their gratitude and appreciation for being accepted and allowed to participate in this event,” said Mr Brown.
“Many of these traders, who have been with the festival for five years and longer, even suggested that this year’s event appeared to be their most successful yet in terms of turn-over. Some reported that they had to refill their stock three times on Saturday alone.”
Mr Brown said on Saturday they experienced the worst congestion at the gates in the history of the festival. “The main entrance gates had to be closed down in an effort to ensure that the massive queues were dealt with efficiently and without risking the safety of the public.
“In this regard we need to thank members of our security team, Law Enforcement and SAPS, for really stepping up to the plate and ensuring that no injuries were recorded. We ascribe this to the attention to detail and proper planning that went into the festival,” he said.
Ron X who was the stage, production and artist manager, said he was amazed by the crowd’s response.
“People enjoyed themselves, they danced and sang their hearts out – young and old. The performers did their best in entertaining the people and we could see that people appreciated their performances. I am from Portland, and it was good to see how talented our people are, so it is important to give them a platform to showcase their talent,” he said.
Shakeela Soeker from Tafelsig said she enjoyed the entertainment, stalls and rides. “After going on a ride, I felt like a child again. The festival was energetic and the weather was perfect for the festival. I am coming back next year,” she said.
Henry Sanger from Street Kings dance crew, from Tafelsig, described the crowd as “loud” and “hyper”. He said the crew enjoyed the festival and their own performance. “The crowd kept us motivated because their energy level was very high. We would like to thank the festival for having us and we look forward to the event next year,” he said.
The Plainsman, published by Cape Community Newspapers (CCN), has been the print media partner of the festival since its inception eight years ago.
CCN editor Chantel Erfort said the Plainsman has been serving Mitchell’s Plain for 37 of the 40 years that the area has existed and had become a trusted, authoritative voice in the area. “A partnership between a festival which seeks to uplift and celebrate Mitchell’s Plain was therefore the logical progression for us,” she said.
“I’m thrilled that the festival is enjoying ongoing and increasing success. The fact that more and more people attend every year, and that more than 41 000 attended this year is a testament to the popularity and success of this family-focused event – and a feather in the cap of the organisers.”
Mr Brown said he would like to thank all the supporters, suppliers, security staff, members of SAPS, neighborhood watch members and sponsors, for ensuring that the festival turned out to be another smash hit. “We commit to ensuring that 2017 is even bigger, better and safer,” he said.