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The concept of festival

The form

Festival as a theatrical event

Festive events


See Carnival






Festivals in South Africa

As shown in the entry above, the festival (in its various forms) has long been a venue for theatrical performance(s) throughout the world, and in South Africa.

Some are cultural (e.g. **), some both cultural and political (e.g. **, ** , Voortrekker Festival (1938), Huguenot Festival (1939), Van Riebeeck Festival (1952), ***)

For a list of South African festivals, competitions and other festival type events, go to the listing of entries on individual festival events in the section South African Festivals and Competitions.

Arts festivals

Among the better known are the National Arts Festival (NAF) (long known as the Grahamstown Festival), Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK), Aardklop, the Woordfees, OppiKoppi, the South Easter Festival

Cultural-historical and political festivals and pageants

The Voortrekker Festival (1938), Huguenot Festival (1939), Van Riebeeck Festival (1952), Union Festival (1960), Republic Festival (1966, 1971, 1981)

Food festivals

DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival

Music festivals

Radical political festivals

Radical political festivals occurred too, e.g. the African National Theatre (ANT) festival of short plays (1941), ** Gradually other regional, celebaratory festivals came along such as the Van der Stel Fees, the Stellenbosch Fees, the Durban Tattoo, the Cape Town Arts Festival, **.

Educational and cultural festivals

Others have been educational and cultural, including the amateur and schools drama festivals orgnised over tmany years by FATSSA, the ATKV, and various educational bodies and departments (e.g. the High School Drama Festival in Cape Town). See Administration Drama Festival, Administrator's Cup Competition, Also the Barney Simon Young Directors and Writers Festival at the Market Theatre. Time of the Writer or International Writer’s Festival, Durban

The evolution of the post-Apartheid festival circuit

However, beginning with the renowned the Grahamstown Festival, or to give it its formal name, the National Arts Festival (NAF) , the late 20th century saw the development of a wide-spread festival circuit in this country has been a particularly prominent and immensely influential feature of the theatre in the period after 1994, as state support for the arts drained away. They include other English festivals like the Hilton Festival, the Arts Alive Festival, Franschoek Literary Festival, and **, Afrikaans festivals (the original Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees and its associated Afrikaans festivals - Aardklop, Walvis Fees, Oester Fees, Burger-Suidoosterfees, Volksbladfees, Afrikaanse Woordfees, Innibos, ** ), and the Oyster Festival, the Whale Festival

Many of the new festivals arising later in the 20th century and escalating there have been product and produce-oriented festivals (the Hibiscus Festival, the Flower Festival in Darling, the Sedgefield Slow Festival, and numerous food and beverages festivals celebrating wine, brandy, mampoer, cheese, olives, cherries, potatoes, and so on) and , .

South African festivals abroad

There are a number of one-off and longer term international festivals such as** in Amsterdam, UKkasie in London, ** in Canada, Afrovibes Festival, Europe and South Africa. and so on.


"A feast of South African festivals", South Africa.info (2015)[1]

Cremona, V.A., Eversmann, P., van Maanen, H., Sauter, W. and Tulloch, J. (Eds.), (2004) Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Publishers.

Even-Zohar, I. (1979) ‘Polysystem Theory’, Poetics Today 1(1-2).

Hauptfleisch, T. (1997) ‘The Company You Keep’ in: Hauptfleisch, Theatre and Society in South Africa: Reflections in a Fractured Mirror. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

Hauptfleisch, T. (2001) "The Eventification of Afrikaans Culture – Some thoughts on the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival" in: South African Journal (SATJ) Vol. 15, pp. 169-177.

Hauptfleisch, T. (2003) ‘The Cultural Bazaar: Thoughts on festival culture after a visit to the 2003 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn’ in: South African Journal (SATJ) Volume 17, 258-275.

Hauptfleisch, T. (2004) ‘Eventification: Utilizing the Theatrical System to Frame the Event’ in: V. A. Cremona, P. Eversmann, H. van Maanen, W. Sauter & J. Tulloch (Eds.) Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Publishers, pp. 278-302.

Hauptfleisch, Temple, Shulamith Lev-Aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers. (2007)Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Kamp, M. (2003) Festivalisering: Een culturele stem van het Zuid-Afrika van vandaag. In een politieke, economische, culturele en kunsten context, Unpublished Master’s dissertation, University of Amsterdam.

Kaptein, P. (1996) ‘De beginperiode van het Holland Festival. Festivals en festivalisering’ in: R.L. Erenstein (ed.), Een theater geschiedenis de Nederlanden. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 672-680.

Kitshoff, H. (2004) ‘Claiming Cultural Festivals: Playing for Power at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK)’ in: South African Theatre Journal (SATJ) Volume 18, pp. 64-80.

Kitshoff, H. (2004) Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) [A review of the 2003 festival.] In South African Theatre Journal (SATJ) Volume 18, pp. 235-239.

Kitshoff, H. (2004) Die opkoms, dinamika en betekenis van die Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees: 1995-2005

KKNK (2001) Feesgids (Festival Guide), Oudtshoorn: KKNK.

KKNK (2003) Feesgids (Festival Guide), Oudtshoorn: KKNK.

Krit (2003) The festival newspaper, issues from Saturday 29 March to Wednesday 2 April.

Kruger, L. (1999) The Drama of South Africa. Plays, pageants and publics since 1910, London: Routledge.

Martin, J., Seffrin, G. & Wissler, R.( 2004) ‘The Festival is a Theatrical Event’ in: V. A. Cremona, P. Eversmann, H. van Maanen, W. Sauter & J. Tulloch (Eds.) Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Publishers, pp. 91-110.

Merrington, P. (1999) ‘The “New Pageantry” and Performance Studies’, Paper read at the SASTR Conference, Stellenbosch 11-12 September (Unpublished).

NACSA (2004) Arts and Culture Database. Distributed electronically to its members by PANSA. Rautenbach, E. (2001) KKNK Feesgids. (KKNK Festival Guide) 7-14 April.

Sauter, W. (2004) ‘Introducing the Theatrical Event’ in: V. A. Cremona, P. Eversmann, H. van Maanen, W. Sauter & J. Tulloch (Eds.) Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames, Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Publishers, pp. 3-14.

Stadler, H. (2003) ‘Die ABC van die KKNK is dat dit 'n groot F is’ in: Rapport, 6th April, p. 3.

Staub, A. (1992) ‘The social uses of festival: Transformation and disfiguration’ South African Theatre Journal (SATJ), Volume 6:1, pp. 4-24.

Van Graan, M. van & Du Plessis, N. (1998) The South African Handbook on Arts and Culture 1998, Cape Town: Article 27 Arts and Culture Consultants.

Van Graan, M. van & Du Plessis, N. (2002) The South African Handbook on Arts and Culture 2002/2003. Cape Town: David Philip Publishers.

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