Now in its 14th year, the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees was described as a “festival filled with fabulocity” by the bursar on a British Airways flight on its approach into Port Elizabeth on Saturday morning.
Algoa FM deputy managing director Kevin Reed says he was very excited to hear the announcement on the flight.
“We just love the description – it sums up what makes the festival so special. This shows that the festival has outgrown its Eastern Cape roots and has become a national event,” says festival director Jenni Honsbein.
Perfect weather and a packed programme of activities attracted a record crowd over the three days of the festival from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28, according to Honsbein.
“We will only have final figures later in the week, but the indications are that we are 10 per cent up on the 50 000 people who visited the festival in 2014,” she says.
Even load-shedding on the two nights did not deter the crowds.
A stand-by generator fed power to the giant stage, and the festival took on a new atmosphere with the stars and moon providing light.
“Absa extends its congratulations to the Wildsfees organisers for another stellar event which is positively impacting on the economic and social ambitions of the Sunday’s River Valley. The collective partnerships and the support of the public has ensured the continued success of the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees,” said Tshiwela Mhlantla, Regional Executive, Absa Eastern Cape.
According to Honsbein the festival, which had well over 50 000 people through the gates, was free of any major incidents thanks to strict security and the support of the Sundays River South African Police Services.
New attractions such as the Tiki Island Style Bar and the Eastern Cape’s only Magic Faerie Trail proved to be very popular.
“Based on this success we are already planning new attractions for next year,” says Honsbein.
Buffalo from the Addo Elephant National Park earned around R7,4 million for conservation at the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees game auction.
The top price paid for an Addo bull was R750 000, and R360 000 for a cow and calf.
A total of 32 adult buffalo from the Addo Elephant National Park were sold on the auction.
The turnover of the auction was around R13 million, according to auction organiser Johan Swart.
This is down on 2014, where a record price of R7,8 million was paid for a blesbuck bull with unusual colouring.
It is in line with auctions elsewhere in the Eastern Cape.
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