The Northern Arts Festival 2014
'Restoring History, Developing Art, Leaving a Legacy'. As the event's tagline goes, this is an event which has the community at its heart. The Northern Arts Festival, which takes place in the Nelson Mandela Metro area, has been in existence since 2007 and constitutes one of the few events of its kind in the Eastern Cape. For this reason it has proved popular over the years and is sticking to its goals for becoming one of the top 10 arts and cultural festivals in South Africa.
The festival, which takes place in late September, is a true grassroots event. It not only works for the local community of Port Elizabeth and surrounds, but with it too. At its heart the festival aims to unite the various groups which constitute this community, thus nurturing one which is free from ‘isms’ such as race, sex and class. The binding agent which is used to bring everyone together is the arts: singing, rap, stand-up comedy, poetry and dance.
Groups and individuals are invited to enter themselves in the appropriate category, which will give them the chance to expose themselves and their art to the broader public, as well as give the acts some practise. In this way the festival benefits people in two main ways. Firstly, artists are given the opportunity to perform, while behind-the-scenes staff is also provided an opportunity to prove themselves. Job creation is a major plus where the festival is concerned, while simultaneously community-members are provided with ‘good clean’ entertainment as an alternative to non-enriching activities like watching television or worse, resorting to drugs and alcohol.
The event promises a range of entertainment from performances to food stalls and fairground rides for kids. When all is said and done it promises to be a weekend of live entertainment and socialising which has myriad benefits for all participants - all in all, an event worth supporting.
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