Jam packed programme for 6th annual Northern Arts Festival

A jam packed programme of activities can be expected at the 6th annual Northern Arts Festival held at the Marock Road sports grounds in Sanctor in Nelson Mandela Bay from 21 to 24 September.

The broad spectrum of arts and cultures will come to life as the Northern Arts Festival puts on a show celebrating various forms of art through a variety of activities planned over the four days that the festival will run.The annual Cleary Park Shopping Centre/Northern Arts Festival 5km Family Fun Run takes place on Saturday, 22 September from the Cleary Park Shopping Centre at 7.30am.

The route follows through the community of Arcadia, Sanctor and Salsoneville, and ends again at the Cleary Park Shopping Centre sports field (next to Build It).

The entertainment line-up taking place at the festival grounds remains a highlight, with performances expected by national and local artists.

Festival director, Billy Paulson, said the festival has always been a celebration of local talent and giving a platform to the host of local performers in the city to perform to crowds of thousands of people.

“The community shows up in their thousands to support local talent, which is an amazing experience to witness. This festival really is about bringing everyone together to celebrate the arts and our shared heritage,” said Paulson.

The highlights on the line-up include New Afro Teenz, Chapter Three, Gino Lee, Shoe Lace, Spectrum dance group, PE’s Finest dance group, Life Line and many, many more.

There is a host of exceptionally talented local artists on the line-up who have large followings in the community who are expected to blow the crowds away.

On Saturday, 22 September, the Duidelik Kleurvol Music Spectacular will feature a “bring back the stars” show with national artists, Lionel Peterson, Felicia Marion and Melvyn Matthews.

Both Peterson and Marion are legendary national artists, and are currently part of a tour around the country with Jonathan Butler. Marion is the singer of the mega hit, “Paradise Road”, and has performed alongside Hugh Masekela.

A first for the festival will be a performance by popular local superstar, Donna Afrika, who hails from the Northern Areas of the city. Afrika has performed at festivals around the country, and is also a leading stage performer in the city.

A grand opening parade takes place on Saturday, 22 September at 10am from Standford Road in front of the Cleary Park Shopping Centre. The parade procession will include the boys’ brigade bands, drum majorettes, marching drill squads, artists and performers.

Paulson said the objective of the parade is to place back into the spotlight the traditions of the Northern Areas, such as the boys’ brigade which has been around for years and is known to promote good values and instil discipline amongst its members.The parade is expected to become an annual feature, and as Paulson says, “to be the biggest parade the city has ever seen!”

The parade procession will proceed from Standford Road, into Rensburg Road, pass the former Dower College, straight down Rensburg Road until the four way stop and left into Esterhuizen Street, and left into Marock Road to the festival grounds. There will be road closures for the duration of the fun run and parade, which is expected to end by 11.30am.

Another highlight is the national theatre production, Platform 9, with its all star cast presented by the Northern Arts Festival on Saturday, 22 September at the St Martin De Porres church hall. The celebrity cast includes 7de Laan actor, Theodore Jantjies and Isidingo actor, Maurice Paige. Tickets cost R70 per person.

The popular local production, My bra se Tjirrie, will be staged on Saturday, 22 September also at the St Martin De Porres church hall at 12 noon. Tickets cost R50 per person.

The festival ends on a high note on Monday, 24 September with a cultural display in celebration of Heritage Day. The closing act of the festival will be done by Chapter Three, who are one of the most popular groups in the city.

In celebration of National Braai Day on Monday, 24 September, a braai competition will take place at the festival grounds. The competition is sponsored by Shoprite and Marina Sea Salt, and the prizes up for grabs include three braai stands and hampers. Entrants can bring their own braai meat, or can purchase a braai pack at the venue. The entry fee is R30 for a group of two people.

A dance competition will also run throughout the four days of the festival, and is being co-ordinated by award winning dance group, De Ja Vu. Entry forms are available at the Northern Arts Festival Office at shop 92 at the Cleary Park shopping centre, or at the festival venue on Friday, 21 September. Entry fee is R10 per person.