It is the end of June in South Africa which, for this Eastern Cape boy, means Grahamstown Arts Festival. Yes the City of Saints plays host to an assortment of arts events for ten days. Some of the best shows and some pretty weird ones too will be available for thousands of arts fans to enjoy. I cannot wait!
This arts fest ranks with the best in the world. No surprise that many acts come from overseas to participate. Plus hear the accents of foreign tourists mixing in with the local patois. It is a sensory delight.
This year's fest is promising to deliver more satire from South Africa's rich supply of political madness. Although I suspect that reading the daily newspaper should be satire enough. Honourbale mention will go to Pieter Dirk Uys who will be appearing at the fest. He will premier his new play African Times.
I love the fringe where you take your chances from a vast assortment of shows on offer. All part of the experience of cramming in as much as you can in a short space of time. Adding to the fun is the weather which can be warm one day and bitterly cold the next. A nip of port in the backpack is a essential for these emergencies.
For the magpie in you there is the village market. Filled with stalls in giant tents that must resemble souks in the middle east. The expected clothing stalls plus the funky stuff vie for attention. Some amazing new wonder products will usually be available for purchase too.
Of course there is fine art for all tastes. Displayed on pavements or in formal gallery settings you will find something to lighten the soul. The pocket too I imagine.
Yes it is a unique event and we are fortunate to have it. If you have never experienced the fest then make a note for the bucket list. You only need a few days - three at least - of full steam fun that will give you a lifetime of memories.
Visit the official festival website here to download the program.