Wind wipes out summer festival

2017-12-12 06:00
Parts of the roof of Vygieskraal Stadium blew off on Friday night.PHOTOS: Voice of the cape

Parts of the roof of Vygieskraal Stadium blew off on Friday night.PHOTOS: Voice of the cape

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The organisers of this year’s Voice of the Cape (VOC) radio station’s summer festival held at Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone have apologised to the hundreds of vendors and festivalgoers after shutting down the event on Saturday.

The annual four-day festival kicked off on Thursday evening with an opening ceremony in the presence of station representatives and City of Cape Town officials. But things soon started turning south when windy conditions forced the team to close several tea gardens, exhibition marquees and activities for the safety of festivalgoers.

Officials of the disaster management department estimated a wind speed of up to 60km/H, which later increased to 100km/H.

The venue operations centre advised the organisers to end the festival due to damage caused by the wind on Friday night. The tea garden marquee had been dislodged and parts of the stadium roof blew off overnight.

When People’s Post visited the festival venue on Saturday morning, hundreds of children were forced to leave a marquee after an iron pole collapsed inside the section where a children’s party was set to take place. Organisers of the children’s event were forced to evacuate the area and moved to a sports track outside.

Despite the change and having a party in the wind, the children continued to enjoy various activities, including competitions, music, face painting and horse riding.

“Public safety is of utmost priority. The wind is not under our control. We wanted to have a magnificent festival but God has other plans,” said Rashaad Frydie, head of the festival convening team, during a live announcement on air.

His team officially shut down the festival at 18:00 on Saturday after disaster management officials did various assessments.

Following the cancellation, stallholders say thousands of rands went to waste due to the shutdown.

Shariefa Williams Ruiters posted to VOC’s Facebook page to air her disappointment.

“I am one of the stallholders and due to the cancellation we are in debt to more than R50 000 of perishable stock. I understand that the winds were terrible but I feel that VOC should have seen the forecast for the weekend beforehand. We are local traders and cannot afford this big loss. Our stalls weren’t securely put up, which endangered our lives,” she says.

The convening team has met with stallholders about their concerns, given the fact that many had prepared stock for the ­weekend.

Stallholders were advised to forward their addresses to the station where they advertise on air for people to purchase meals from them this passed weekend.

The annual tea garden breakfast, a popular event amongst elderly citizens, was also postponed. Since tickets for the breakfast had been sold beforehand, the team managed to secure an alternative venue.

Coordinator Achmat Jacobs says the event will take place at Ghousia Manzil hall in Rylands Estate tonight at 18:30 in the form of a supper. The event is open to all festival-goers who bought tickets for the breakfast.

Frydie has apologised to vendors, exhibitors and sponsors. The team is expected to meet with all stallholders on Sunday morning to discuss the way forward.

V For more information call Voice of the Cape radio station on 021 442 3500.

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