Thousands of people from all over the Eastern Cape and farther afield streamed into the small Sundays River town of Kirkwood for the 13th annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees, which was hosted from Friday, June 27 to Sunday, June 29.
“Highlights for this year undoubtedly include the great sunny weather and the stellar performances over the weekend by iconic South African artists such as the Parlotones, Mango Groove, Emo Adams, Elvis Blue and many more,” says festival director Jenni Honsbein.
“All the artists tell us they love coming here because of the quality of our sound. We are told that our stage is one of only two of its type in the country. It says a lot for a festival based in a small Karoo town to be able to attract top artists and to be able to ensure that they sound their best,” she says.
While the final visitor figures will only be available later in the week, Honsbein says the indications are that more than 50 000 people visited the festival over the three days.
“This is despite the challenging local economy and the attraction of the Springboks playing Scotland in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
“It shows that the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees continues to be something special,” she says.
“Absa extends its congratulations to the organisers for, yet again, another stellar event,” says Tshiwela Mhlantla, regional executive Absa Eastern Cape.
“We are proud to partner with the Wildsfees, and to play a part in helping the many stakeholders to prosper through participation in the event,” she says.
Other highlights of the festival include the new minister of tourism Derek Hanekom delivering his first official speech in his post at the official opening of the 13th Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees on Thursday, June 26.
“Having the tourism minister here confirmed that the Wildsfees has established itself as one of the premier events in the country. This was confirmed by the minister in his speech,” says Honsbein.
Hanekom also attended the start of the annual game auction, which this year raised a record of R26,5 million.
New records set at the festival include R975 000 paid for a buffalo cow from the Addo Elephant National Park, and R400 000 for a yellow blesbok ram.
The biggest sale was R7,8 million for a rare saddleback blesbok ram called “Top Deck”, which was sold to Gamevest which is based in the Northern Province town of Thabazimbi.
“It was wonderful seeing buyers from all over South Africa and Namibia at the auction, which is once again one of the biggest in the country” says Honsbein.
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