Last year, I couldn’t attend the ATKV Solms-Delta Oesfees because I was in Platbos planting trees. I was miffed that I was going to miss it, but the tree-planting left me with major warm fuzzies, and since human cloning had not yet taken off (still hasn’t), I made my peace with it. But firmly resolved to go to the next one.
So, the resolve was adhered to, and I went two weekends ago on 25 March. In short, I really wish that everyone could attend this festival! It was that amazing! Easily one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time and think the person who started it and ran with it needs to get a medal. Or hugs from everyone who attended.
To start with, it was really well organised. The queues to get in were super short and the crew members helping were really friendly (and funny). There were plenty of affordable drinks and food stalls. The entertainment line-up was local, but quite diverse: traditional dancers (rieldansers) from the Namakwaland, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, rappers, blues and folk artists (full line-up). And more, all there. To make things flow smoothly, there were two stages. No-one was left standing around having to wait for the next artist and well … it was quite exhausting in the end, but in a good way. Non-stop entertainment. As a result, loo breaks had to be planned with German precision.
Given, it’s not the fanciest festival you’ll ever attend, what with the basic but adequate décor (hay bales, plastic chairs or wooden benches to sit on; plenty of umbrellas and trees for shade, plastic cups for your drinks, etc.) but you’ll look far and wide to find a festival with a better spirit. The crowd was a mixed bag. It felt to me as if it worked through all the categories in the Constitution: race, age, gender, sexuality, religion … Everyone was represented. All shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. The best part? Everyone was having a roaring time, enjoying the festival and sharing a fun day out.
No racial incidents. Not. One. In fact, the general vibe was of bonhomie and togetherness. The ubuntu was rife!
So, the racial drama on social media can continue, as it no doubt will. However, I’d like to think that festivals like the Oesfees matter too. In fact, I think they mean more. They show that we live in an awesome country and that diversity is a blessing, not a curse. We can get along.
So, you know where to find me next year this time. I will not miss it. Neither should you.
Read more about the history of Solms-Delta here, and why they’re so much more than just another wine farm.