SOCCER ECLIPSES THE ARTS FESTIVAL

THIS year the Grahamstown National Arts Festival played second fiddle to the beautiful game.

THIS year the Grahamstown National Arts Festival played second fiddle to the beautiful game.

Theories out on the streets, pubs and restaurants in Grahamstown abound that the festival, always a top attraction, did not live up to expectations this time around.

"This is not the festival we know. And I know the reason why it did not do as well as was expected. It is because of the soccer," a student, who was drinking in the beer garden at Green Village, a popular marketplace that has been part and parcel of the festival for many years now, said.

The theory that the World Cup had taken away the shine from the arts was all the talk of this university town.

Encouragingly though, the music as usual did not disappoint. For example, watching Vusi Mahlasela performing to a capacity crowd at this popular event was a revelation of sorts.

Both black and white people enjoyed the music from the poet, musician and philosopher.

And as I write this, I am excited to be later attending the Oliver Mtukudzi concert, and judging from the word on the street, it looks like it is going to be a rocker of a concert.

The theatrical productions I attended were great and so were the exhibitions. In short, crowd or no crowd, the quality of the productions was generally good. The arts have certainly come of age in the country, judging by the quality of the productions on display.

If only the soccer tourists who are visiting Grahamstown currently would stop talking about soccer all the time.

But as things stand currently, the word to describe the situation here in Grahamstown is "disappointing".

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