THOUSANDS of matriculants are celebrating the end of school life and letting down their hair at the annual 4U Rage Festival.
The festival, held in venues in KwaZulu-Natal and Plettenberg Bay every year, pulls crowds from across the country and is now running for its 10th year.
Beginning November 25, for two- and-a-half weeks students enjoy non- stop day and night entertainment featuringSouth Africa’s hottest bands and DJs.
The 4U Rage Festival is hosted by Johannesburg-based G&G Productions and this year has pulled a crowd of about 35000 visitors to date.
Main sponsors for the festival are Vodacom and BlackBerry, with other sponsors such as Stimorol Infinity and Marlboro adding to the mix.
The Daily Dispatch visited Plett this week where thousands of matrics have been partying hard.
Between 3000 and 4000 “ragers” partied Wednesday night away at a local club which boasted a VIP area and five dance floors.
Renowned Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow and popular electro-jazz group Goldfish had the crowds in awe with their performances .
Matthew Zinn , who wrote matric at Edgemead High School in Cape Town this year, said the rage experience had been amazing.
“Right now I feel terrible [from the previous night’s partying] but it’s all been amazing and definitely worth coming,” he said.
A former Rustenberg High School for Girls pupil, Claire Boswell, said it was her second rage festival . “It was amazing the second time around. It was bigger and definitely had the wow factor.
“We could go to more places, it was safe and friendly with lots of really nice people,” she said.
Managing director for G&G Productions Greg Walsh said support for the festival had been phenomenal. “In 2003 we had three parties in Plett with 600 people at each party – no sponsors, no media coverage and no DJs of any importance.
“Now, in 2011, we have 62 parties, 150 sponsor activations, nearly every big DJ performing multiple times, lots of media exposure, including radio like 5FM and TV like MTV.
“It’s been a long, upward, winding road, but worth it all,” said Walsh.
Although some parents may be sceptical about sending their children to the festival, organisers say parents should rest assured.
“The message of the festival is to have a responsible good time. Obviously one major concern is drinking and driving but we do not condone it at all,” said Walsh. “To avoid drinking and driving we have 44 branded buses which fetch and drop the pupils to and from their accommodations to the parties. The environment of the festival ensures maximum security for all pupils.”