Grahamstown has hosted the National Arts Festival uninterrupted since 1976, and this year it takes place from 29 June to 9 July.
It’s a premier South African event crammed with theatre, live music, film, lectures and performing arts.
Tip: You might want to book a few shows in advance. Popular headliners are often sold out before the festival begins.
Let’s take a gander…
One of the cornerstones of the Arts Festival is the myriad theatre productions, featuring acts from across South Africa.
Here’s a taste of what festival goers can expect…
An award winning comedy featuring Zachary Hunt, Tom Roe and Nathan Parkinson.
The show received high praise from UK critics, won multiple awards and sold out at Soho Theatre, London, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016.
James And The Giant Peach
Genre: Family Fare.
A sensory overload of a Roald Dahl classic, dressed up in wild colours and reinforced with shadow puppetry and puppets.
The kids will love this one.
Visitors to the National Arts Festival can choose from 48 films. Think Federico Fellini, George Orwell and the Berlin wall.
It’s black-and-white romance meets political satire, rebellion, love, deceit and courage.
Here’s a taste…
Director Kim Ki-duk’s 18th feature film explores the life of a ruthless loan shark who transforms into a human being after meeting his estranged mother.
The film won the 2012 Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Grahamstown transforms into a living entity over the festival period, with hundreds of striking art installations scattered throughout town.
Artists from all over the country set up works in a wide variety of media. What you get is a vibrant mix of eclectic African art.
The National Arts Festival without music is like a guitar with no strings.
Here’s a taste of what you can expect.
13 year old violin player, Pendo Masote, is making his debut at the Arts Festival this year. He’ll be performing works by Fritz Kreisler, Tomaso Vitali, Antonio Vivaldi and Niccolo Paganini.
But Pendo’s music isn’t for old fogies only. His last performance for the festival includes music from Michael Jackson, John Legend, Clean Bandit and Adele.
Kahn and Karen Zoid
What do you get when you add a dash of Parlotones to a drop of Afrikaans rock?
Kahn And Zoid, one of the most interesting collaborations to rise from South African soil.
Two SAMA-winning singer songwriters sharing the same stage?
Can only be magic.
Join Neolektra as they journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, bringing hope of new life through music. Be transported to Spain, Argentina, Scotland and numerous other destinations.
Neolektra received praise from the likes of UK radio presenter, Simon Lederman, who said,
Wow, you can absolutely get lost in that music… incredible, immense power…
Not to be missed.
Festival goers with thin wallets need not worry, since the Arts Festival offers a number of free events.
On top of that, all art installations are free to peruse; no tickets required. Some art installations allow guests to interact with the installation. It’s a great way to catch a glimpse of the artist’s perspective.
If you’re a lover of culture and art, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival is a must.
Visit Grahamstown and drown your senses in an unforgettable African cultural experience.
More info: nationalartsfestival.co.za.