'We've put in so much for them to cancel now' - Matrics respond after Plett Rage is cancelled

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Plett Rage festival-goers line up in front of the Banana Valley Community Hall in 2018.
Plett Rage festival-goers line up in front of the Banana Valley Community Hall in 2018.
Lulama Zenzile
  • The Plettenberg Bay Rage Festival was cancelled on Thursday.
  • Organisers called off the event following an alarming number of positive cases of Covid-19.
  • Festivalgoers were left shattered by the announcement.

Several matriculants, who were eagerly awaiting a weekend of excitement, say they are devastated by the announcement that the Plettenberg Bay Rage Festival has been cancelled.

On Thursday, the organisers announced the festival would not go ahead as planned on Friday.

They said an alarming number of positive Covid-19 cases were being reported by revellers based in Plettenberg. Those who were hoping to attend the festival were required to take the mandatory PCR beforehand.

"Almost all schools set to attend Plett Rage have positive cases. Based on the trajectory of this virus, this is only a tiny percentage of what we are now certain will show up. The numbers are only going to increase rapidly," they said.

"Although we, as organisers, have implemented the most stringent Covid-19 preventive measures, there was no way to pre-empt the devastation that the current surge of Covid-19 cases nationally would cause."

Earlier, event founder Ronen Klugman said the organisers had "no choice but to continue" because festivalgoers had already started arriving in the seaside town.

READ | Ballito Rage ticket holders may not receive refunds

In a joint statement, the Bitou Municipality and Plett Tourism applauded the organisers for cancelling the event, adding that it was not an easy decision.

"The Bitou Municipality and Plett Tourism commend the Plett Rage team and appreciate all the hard work and dedication they have put into one of SA's most iconic matric events, in particular the safety measures and Covid protocols they had in place. This was not an easy decision to make, it has a devastating effect on the Plett Rage team, the students and the local economy," they said.

"We also ask that our community remains understanding, and continues to support local businesses and each other, through these difficult times."

A matric pupil, who had already arrived in Plettenberg for the festival, said he was disappointed.

"It's really sad that we've put in so much for the past six months, for them to cancel at the last minute. We have put in so much for them to cancel now," event attendee Josh Grieveson told News24.

He added that they only found out about the cancellation when they arrived in Plettenberg.

"We do understand the reasons behind their decision to cancel, but they had put safety measures for all attendees. Now people will just go to unsupervised parties, which defeats the purpose of them cancelling the event."

Grieveson added that they would stay in Plettenberg for a few more days.

"We have spent a lot of money to be here. We hope that they do reimburse us, but we have not heard anything else besides the cancellation announcement." 

Other people took to social media to express their feelings.

READ | Ballito Rage Festival cancelled- 32 guests test positive for Covid-19

One woman said: "How on earth can you cancel today when everyone is already ther [sic] paid for flights and accommodation, and are all staying on? Surely much better to host and do tests etc? Now it's just a free for all, spreading even faster."

Another said she felt sorry for all the festival staff and those affected on the food and retail side.

A Twitter user shared: "Safety first. Rather safe than sorry. #plettrage #ragefestivals cancelled. So unfortunate for the loss of income, unemployment now though due to the #pandemic." 

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Ballito Rage Festival had been cancelled after 36 people tested positive for Covid-19.

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