5 things you should know before you come to The National Arts Festival

National Arts Festival (Photos: Supplied)
National Arts Festival (Photos: Supplied)

Makhanda – We're at the National Arts Festival 2019, and it's been a learning experience. 

The annual event, which is taking place this year until 7 July 2019, is a fun and frenetic experience that can sometimes be overwhelming.

There's so much see from art galleries, to stage productions and a whole lot more. 

So, we've put together some helpful tips to make your trip a good one.


1. Pack some warm clothes.

Listen, it's cold. Even when the sun is out, there's a definite chill in the air. So, pack some warm clothes but make sure that you can layer your items in case it gets hot, as it's known to do in crowded venues.

 2. Be flexible.

If you're like me, you wrote down all the shows you wanted to see and planned around them, but even the best-laid plans can go sideways. There's traffic, and you're too late to get in the doors or sometimes shows get cancelled for reasons outside of anyone's control or quite often are sold out. Don't get stressed, just get the app or buy a programme and go see something else. It might not be what planned, but it will still be an experience to write home about. 

3. Take a stroll.

Not all of the art and performances are scheduled or in the programme. Sometimes art just happens, so take a walk and get to know this small and quirky town. You might walk into something or someone great. 

4. The food…

A lot of the restaurants are designed for small crowds, and relaxed servings so sometimes wait times can be a little longer at most places. Don't think you can just nip in to grab something to eat quickly before a show. You will be late. In the two days, we've been around the festival we got to taste a lot of food and out all the places I would say my two best experiences have been at Major Frasers and The Long Table.

5. The Hopper and getting around the festival.

Walking from venue to venue is pretty straightforward. There's lots of signage around, and the locals are accommodating if you want to stop for a drink and ask for directions. There's also The Hopper, which is a free service. It's a minibus with a massive sign on the top that you can grab for transport in between venues. Alternatively, driving from show to show is an option, but remember there are a lot of people and traffic can sometimes grind to a standstill around venues. 

*Alex Isaacs' trip The National Arts Festival was sponsored by Multichoice.*

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