Billy’s swansong a gift to community

2017-06-14 06:02
Billy Paulson in Kobus Road, Helenvale, where the street meal will take place on Friday, June 16.Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

Billy Paulson in Kobus Road, Helenvale, where the street meal will take place on Friday, June 16.Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

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AFTER ten years of bringing the Northern Arts Festival to the people of the northern areas, founder Billy Paulson is retiring with a final gesture to thank the community for its support over the years.

Paulson, a popular gospel singer, has been the brain behind the Northern Arts Festival (NAF) which was held at different venues in the northern areas for the past ten years on Heritage Day, September 24.

“The festival had an objective to be a platform for local artists and musicians and when I look back at people such as Gino Lee, Chapter Three and Dejavu who have all graced our stages when they were up and coming, I believe we have reached our objectives.”

The first NAF was held in the historic Van Der Kemp Kloof and have since been held at various venues including Sanctor and Gelvandale.

Paulson said that the organisers of NAF have been under a lot of pressure with many other festivals that have been sprouting up over recent years.

“Last year there were four other festivals happening on the same day as ours. This has been a challenge, and we have decided that we would not host the NAF anymore but instead focus on other projects.”

Paulson, who recently turned 60, will now put his focus on the establishment of a CBD in the northern areas.

“We have 200 000 people in the northern areas, and there are 20 000 vehicles - why is it that we don’t have any car dealerships in our areas? We also earn money, so why is it that there are no free-standing banks on our main road? We need to look at developing our area because there is no reason why we still have to travel to Cape Road and such to do business. We need to start our own metropolis in our area.”

To thank the community for their support of the NAF, Paulson is hosting a Street Meal Festival in Helenvale on Friday, June 16.

“This is also a way of showing the community of the northern areas that they aren’t ignored and that they are cared for.”

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