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Cape Town gets ready to party

by Martin Pollack
on 16 Mar 2011
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

Cape Town will be the place to be this long weekend, with two major events set to get the Mother City partying.

The annual Cape Town Festival, which aims to celebrate the city's cultural diversity and connect and unite Cape Town through daily musical performances in the Company's Garden, will be held over four days, while the second Cape Town Carnival will take place on Saturday, 19 March.

The carnival aims to match other great great carnivals and festivals of the world, and promises to have all the flair and glamour of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, with a distinctly African flavour. Its theme is "Dream the Future", and relates to how the city is looking ahead in every possible way.

This is the second time it will be held. The pilot event saw 2 500 costumed performers take to the streets of the city in what proved to be a hugely successful dry run for establishing Cape Town as the party capital of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

Although it was not officially associated with the World Cup™, carnival performers stepped back into their costumes to take part in the opening parade.

According to Barry Tyson of the Cape Town Carnival, the organisers are "hoping to build this up into the biggest event in Cape Town, or even South Africa".

He mentioned that it has lots of support and backing, and sees it growing into a Rio Carnival type-event.

The City of Cape Town is proudly associated with the Carnival and is paying for all associated services, such as traffic and cleansing. This is worth about R350 000.

The City is also sponsoring a float to the tune of R150 000 according to Fritz Marx, Head of Protocol and Mayoral Events in the Office of the Executive Mayor.

Those in attendance can expect to experience nine festive floats, music, dance, lights, puppet animals, art installations and even giant hamster wheels (giant wheels with people inside them).

The carnival is not only fun, it is also an opportunity to harness local creativity and talent, provide jobs and training, encourage social cohesion and make participants and residents feel proud of their city, according to organisers.

The Carnival will bring together people from every walk of life from more than 23 local communities.

Tyson said it is about "trying to bridge the gaps and the divides in Cape Town we have 2 500 people coming from all over the city, all getting together, training, dancing, getting dressed together, that's a big part of it, we're not just paying lip service to it."

Another important aspect for Tyson is the issue of volunteerism. "Very few people are being paid for this, the people parading are giving freely of their time, which is not that common now, there's nothing in it for them financially."

Carnival road closures

Road closures from 18:00 Friday, 18 March until 05:00 Saturday, 19 March
  • Long Street between Strand and Shortmarket Street
  • Long Street between Buiten Street and Buitensingel Street
  • Hout Street between Burg Street and Loop Street
  • One side of Vredenburg Lane and Long Street will be closed from 18:00 on Friday, 18 March until 09:00 on Sunday, 20 March. Residents with garages will be given permits to go in and out until 13:00 on Saturday.

Road closures from 13:00 Saturday ,19 March (access to pedestrians at all times, accredited vehicles and deliveries until 17:00)
  • Burg Street between Church Street and Hout Street; Long Street from Strand Street to Buitensingel and access roads to Long Street i.e Buiten, Pepper, Leeuwen, Dorp, Church, Longmarket and Shortmarket
  • No access from Queen Victoria to Keerom Street
  • Wale Street will be closed between Loop and Burg Street from 17:00
  • No parking will be permitted in Long Street between Strand Street and Buitensingel from 05:00 until 24:00

There will be stop-start traffic from 19:30 to 21:30 at Bree Street between Shortmarket and Strand Street, Castle Street between Buitengracht and Burg Street and Loop Street at the Castel Street intersection.

Cape Town Festival
Meanwhile, the Cape Town Festival is being held over the same weekend, to celebrate the city's cultural diversity and connect and unite Cape Town.

It starts on Friday 18 March in the Company's Garden in central Cape Town and from Saturday there will be daily performances between noon and 20:00, culminating in a concert on Human Rights Day (Monday, 21 March) - the 12th time this will be held.

Artists this year will include Judith Sephuma, Jesse Clegg, The Rockets, Vicky Sampson, The Dirty Skirts, Chad Saaiman, James Bhemjee, Emo Adams, Nomfusi and The Lucky Charms, Virtual Jazz Reality, Die Heuwels Fantasties, the Glenn Robertson Jazz Band, Loukmaan Adams, Tucan Tucan, the Delft Youth Big Band and the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

The City of Cape Town supports the festival, and Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato will deliver an address to mark Human Rights Day.

Carnival details
The Carnival takes place on Saturday, 19 March 2011 in Long Street, with a free fanjol and giant outdoor screen on Greenmarket Square from 14:00, which will also screen the Stormers vs Bulls Super 15 rugby match.

The procession will start at 20:15 and there will be a street party in Long Street with music by DJ Fresh until midnight.

Revellers are advised to get there early. For further details about the Carnival, click here. More information about the Festival can be obtained here.

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