‘Popular’ Steve Hofmeyr will perform at festival – organisers

2014-11-05 09:00

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Steve Hofmeyr will still perform at the “Afrikaans is Groot” festival over the weekend after nearly 80 000 tickets were sold, organisers said.

“It is not the function of the festival to get involved or comment on the personal or public viewpoints of any artist, including Steve,” festival spokesperson Barnard Beukman said last night.

“Those who bought the tickets did it with his participation as part of the offering – each ticket is a contract with the buyer. Therefore, as one of the country’s most popular music stars, Steve is still performing in the concert.”

He said Hofmeyr was contracted for the concert on the same criteria as the other artists.

These included CD sales, popularity in the market, the merit of songs to be used in production and that the company did not judge performers on viewpoints, personal choices, lifestyle or religion.

Beukman said the company’s only involvement with the artists was on their music.

“Those involved are expected to conduct themselves in line with their contracts and the Constitution – just as the case will be at any other employer,” it said.

The festival organisers had an “immense appreciation” for the involvement of sponsors.

“Therefore it is grossly unfair and unacceptable that the commentator Conrad Koch is targeting sponsors, Afrikaans is Groot, and other organisations and persons by attacking them by the hour on his Twitter account,” it said.

“Afrikaans is Groot, and not the sponsors, decide on the participation of artists. Afrikaans is Groot recognises Koch’s right to free speech and topical debate with whomever he chooses.

“However, to damage the business interests of companies by targeting them in a managed campaign on issues that is not relevant to their involvement in Afrikaans music, is bordering on harassment and is clearly offside.”

Supermarket group Pick n Pay and car company Land Rover found themselves the subject of a Twitter war last week over whether they should be sponsoring the Afrikaans music festival.

It followed a column in The Times by ventriloquist and comedian Conrad Koch titled “Dear white supremacists ...” in which he questioned the retailer and Land Rover sponsoring the festival.

Hofmeyr recently had a sponsored bakkie withdrawn by Williams Hunt in Port Elizabeth following a tweet that, in his opinion, black people were the architects of apartheid.

On Thursday, Pick n Pay responded to Koch’s call with the statement: “Pick n Pay’s reputation for publicly and strongly opposing racism speaks for itself.

“We are a contracted sponsor of Afrikaans is Groot and support Afrikaans music, not individuals. We are not involved in the event management or the artist selection process.”

Koch is known for his interviews with politicians using his puppet Chester Missing.

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