Matric Rage: Organisers talk safety and security at this year's major festivals

A rite of passage?
A rite of passage?

Year after year, matriculants gather in Plettenberg Bay and Durban to party off exam stress, going from hard-working learners to "ragers" faster than you can say NSC pass requirements

What started out as a few students gathering to usher in adulthood decades ago has now turned into one of the most anticipated end-of-exam celebrations in the country. 

But what would a rage festival be without parental concern? A highly organised event for teens older than 18, according to organisers. 

Parent24 spoke with the organisers of both the Durban Rage festival and the Plett Rage, who told us what festival-goers can expect from the revelry this year. Use this information, use your discretion, check against your values, and decide for yourself!

Is your teen planning on attending any of the rage festivals or similar events after the exams? What are your biggest concerns? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. If you'd like to stay anonymous let us know. 

The Durban Rage festival

Festival director Will McIntyre breaks down the safety precautions, transport and accommodation put in place at the 2018 Durban Rage festival. 

What was the turn-out last year and how many festival-goers are expected this year?

We saw around 15 000 unique attendees last year. 

What are the security measures put in place for this year's event?

We have been doing the festival for over a decade and through learning and understanding changing social dynamics, we add new layers to our safety protocols each year. We're working with all security stakeholders in KZN, from local police services to private security companies, and for access tickets we use wrist bands with integrated RFID chip technology from Howler. We work closely with the amazing guys from the Red Frog Support Network and have also developed a transport network which helps us to move festival goers to each venue safely. 

Will there be police and medical emergency presence?

Yes, we engage with the various policing and medical institutions in Durban, Umhlanga and Ballito to ensure the highest security compliance. We also employ our own on-the-ground security teams for extra visibility during the festival period, and have dedicated on-the-ground emergency medical staff ready to assist with all potential situations.

What kind of transport will be available for partying students? 

We are working with the relevant local taxi associations within Ballito and Umhlanga so our festival goers never have to use their own transportation, which adds to our no-drinking-and-driving policy.

Rage Rides forms the backbone of the Rage Festival transportation network. Every Rage Ride vehicle has an official Rage Ride marshal on board, who is responsible for the well-being of all patrons. The vehicles are strictly used for ragers throughout the festival and are monitored in real-time. Rage Rides can be identified by official identification stickers placed on the vehicles. Each shuttle has a unique identification number located on the front and back of the shuttle, as well as on the inside of the shuttle. 

What is the arrangement around accommodation?

We have different types of accommodation to suit different needs and for the first time, we’ve introduced camping for those that wish to experience more of the outdoors. Over the years we've developed great relationships with the local hotels and accommodation providers, which has allowed us to negotiate better rates but also adds another layer of safety as we know where most of the ragers will be staying.

Tell us about the festival armbands? 

The Howler technology is incredible and allows seamless flow and access for ragers, but also serves as a vital safety tool. Every single rager is logged into our system, with emergency contacts and medical details stored for rapid response to any situation by a comprehensive safety team, which is always on standby. 

Will the Red Frogs be present this year?

Throughout our festival grounds, you’ll find the Red Frogs – a volunteer support network for students. Their positive, sober presence goes a long way. These heroic friends of the festival stay on their feet all night till the sun comes up or the last rager is home safe. 

Is there any plan in place to address drug use at the event?

We have a strict no-drug policy at Rage. We have undercover cops inside all of the official Rage Festival venues. We scan all entrants' wristbands into the venues to ensure they have registered correctly and are who they say they are. If drugs are found on any person, they are escorted out of the venue by security and handed over to the local police, and are forbidden to enter the festival again.

Any special safety tips for students?

Yes, we have created a cool list of tips for the ragers because ultimately we want to create the best festival experience in the safest environment.

  • Use the buddy system 

You and your crew will undoubtedly get separated at some point. When arriving at Rage Festival events, get to know your surroundings and agree on a meeting point. Partying in numbers will ensure your safety. 

  • Stay hydrated 

The importance of staying hydrated can’t be overstated. Water will you give you energy, alcohol will make you tired.

  • Keep safe 

Be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’re going and who's around you. If you see something which makes you uncomfortable or you think isn’t right, say something by flagging down one of the many Red Frogs roaming throughout the venue. They are easily identified by their Red Frog t-shirt and lanyard. You can also bring any concern to the attention of any of the branded Rage Festival organising staff members.

  • Dress for success, not to impress 

Come prepared for all types of weather. Wear lightweight, breathable clothes that make you feel good. If you choose to wear heavy fabrics and faux furs, remember to stay hydrated. A comfy pair of sneakers is the best way to go, especially if you’re planning to tear up the dance floor. Sandals and flip-flops can hurt your feet.

  • Download the Rage Festival App 

The Rage Festival App is a complete festival guide in your pocket with the most up-to-date set times, maps and preferred outlet listings. It allows you to flag the acts you want to see and will remind you when they are about to hit the stage.

  • Purchase Rage credits 

Rage credits allow you to tap-and-pay for airport shuttles, Rage Rides, food, beverages and enjoy discounts throughout Rage Festival. It’s safer, simpler and the only way to pay at our events.

  • Discuss a check-in system 

Check-in with your parents at set times during the day.

  • Know the festival guidelines 

Make sure you read up about safety at the festival, where to stay, how our Rage Rides operate and everything else you need to know to plan your Rage Festival experience on the Rage Festival website

Plett Rage

Plett Rage marketing manager Ashley Brown shares what festival-goers can expect at this year's Plett Rage. 

What was the turn-out last year and how many festival-goers are expected this year?

In 2017 Plett Rage pushed the boundaries by selling the most tickets to date for our new festival space, and with just over a week left for 2018 tickets we've already equalled the previous year's sales.

What are the security measures put in place for this year's event? Will there be police presence? 

We set a high standard to ensure that our Plett ragers are safe and that parents are at ease with the security measures installed. There is not only a strong police presence but also support from Bitou Law Enforcement, Bitou Traffic Department, Western Cape Provincial Traffic Department, The Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association (The PBCPA), Plett Watch and of course our employed event security staff. 

What kind of transport will be available for partying students? 

Although most attractions in Plettenberg Bay are within walking distance from each other and very safe during the day, we have a dedicated transport system in place for ease of access and safety during our nighttime activities. These vehicles are clearly marked and accredited by our production management team. Plett Rage is a no walking-in or driving festival, combating drinking and driving as well as ensuring our Plett ragers are safe.

What is the arrangement around accommodation? 

Most Plett ragers choose to make use of the many local accommodation suppliers, which vary between lavish hotels and private houses, bed & breakfasts, campsites and our very popular Rage Village campsite. 

What has the festival planned for medical standby? 

Just like our security plan, we have an extensive medical plan which includes a professional medical crew with emergency vehicles. We also have the Red Frogs group who will be educating Plett ragers about responsible drinking and partying. 

Does the Plett rage use Howler armbands?  

Yes, Howler enables cashless preloading and allows us to track the movements within our venues in case of an emergency situation.

Is there any plan in place to address drug use at the event?

We have trained professionals who are vigilant in addressing this problem and are often assisted by SAPS with undercover police. Fortunately, we have not been affected by the issues that may occur at other events.

Any special safety tips for students attending? 

  • Be sure you've read the Plett Rage 2018 important information.
  • Always travel in groups.
  • Exercise responsible drinking – you have 8 days to enjoy yourself so no need to overdo it.
  • Ensure you know where our medical and security offices are in the multiple venues .
  • Treat people with respect.
  • Look out for the well-being of others and have good intentions with situations you find yourself in.

Visit the Plett Rage website for more details. 

Is your teen planning on attending any of the rage festivals or similar events after the exams? What are your biggest concerns? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. If you'd like to stay anonymous let us know. 

Read more: 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive Parent24 stories directly to your inbox.  

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24