Raising the curtain and the bar at Plett ARTS Festival

Poetry was spoken, paint was daubed, songs were sung, and dance was danced. Creative joy and laughter filled the spaces in between connecting artists of all mediums in a beautiful tapestry that was the 10th annual Plett ARTS Festival. 

World-class percussionist John Hassan at African Waves Arts Festival during Plett ARTS Festival. Image by Tshisa Talent

The festival – which presented upwards of 60 events during its 10-day run – continues to present a high calibre of artist and the 2023 edition was no disappointment with returning aficionados like chef Karen Dudley, painter William Mwale, poet Was Lemuel, musician-turned-artist Arno Carstens, land artist Cheryl Traub-Adler, Ancient Voice’s Lulu Plaatjies, and at an exuberant closing night, newcomers to festival, John Hassan and his band Hassan’adas.  Accomplished artists connected at the festival with local talent and Plett hosted a variety of first-time events in addition to familiar favourites like Plett Food & Film and Plett ARTS Twilight Meander. 

Plett SPARK Land Art Route: Artist Derek Saul. Image by Daron Chatz Events

Festival director, Cindy Wilson-Trollip is enthusiastic about this year’s new events, in particular the African Waves Arts Festival: “The African Waves Arts Festival (AWAF) made a significant contribution to the programme this year, hosting South African legends who participate in the international music arena: percussionist, John Hassan and his band Hassan’adas and Lulu Plaatjies with Ancient Voices. Their cultural crossover performances were an inspiration to our audience, the Plett Rieldans troupe and the fresh young talent on the AWAF Discovery Stage: nurtured, mentored and afforded professional performance platforms by local arts NPO, Tshisa Talent.”

Music formed a strong theme at the festival this year. Kwanokuthula’s music scene is alive and thriving. Bands, solo vocalists and DJs took audiences from jazz and rock to amapiano and house.  Legendary Silver Creek Mountain Band took many on a trip down memory lane and baritone Mike Bhayibhile’s performance at Plett Food and Film was an unforgettable highlight of the evening. The New Horizons community used the festival to launch their NH Market Day, which will become a monthly event featuring craft, cooking, cars and local culture. 

Plett SPARK Land Art Route. Artwork by Janet Ranson. Image by Daron Chatz Events

The Plett SPARK Land Art Route expanded their programme into forest and fynbos-scapes providing a new canvas for visiting and local land artists, and followers, to explore, delving deeper into the Plett landscape. Wilson-Trollip adds, “As an extension to the land art programme, and a coup for the festival, Daron Chatz Events presented a screening of “Sculpting This Earth”, directed by Victor van Aswegan, following internationally acclaimed Strijdom van der Merwe through four seasons of creating timeless land artworks.”  

Plett ARTS Festival Exhibition at Milkwood Gallery

Traditional – and not so traditional – artworks were on display across town, in addition to a number of fascinating workshops – and the feeling of connection and creativity was felt throughout the area. Now in its tenth year, the Plett ARTS Festival is settling into something very special for art, music, film, poetry and dance, nature and food lovers: a unique festival in exquisite natural surroundings.

Plett Tourism would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all venues, participants and Plett people who contributed and the wonderfully participative audiences.  In addition, enormous thanks is due to Bitou Municipality and Wesgro for financial and media support. “Funding is a challenge. Their commitment to the arts and artists is to be commended. This is a sector that is seriously underfunded and we salute the artists who, against all odds, continue to create and connect,” concludes Wilson-Trollip.

Plett Tourism can confirm dates for the 2024 Plett ARTS Festival: 20 – 29 September 2024

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