To the vibarians: Change or vokof

Use: National Arts Festival / Jan Potgieter.

So a new Village Green will rise at Victoria Girls High next year.

That’s 300 traders who will inhabit a redesigned space. Smaller tents, all niched, and school accommodation readily available right there.

Not bad. And traffic congestion moves from Rhodes to VG where a genius is going to sort it all all out.

It will be more of a village, and anyhoo, Rhodes is going to build onto the Steve Biko building, once known as Kaif, with slap chips and tiny speakers called RMR. But they will be building with bricks and mortar.

Those who moaned about moving from the Bowling Green to “elitist” Rhodes must know that now the market will be closer to the CBD and townships, according to CEO Tony Lankester (though I added in the bit about the moaners).

What’s in it for the traders who haggle, moan and suffer while they make money? (Who comes back if they don’t?) They will have R200 more to find for their festival rent (up from R5 300 to R5 500) next year, which shouldn’t break the bank and there will be more space. Up from 13 000 squares to 20 000 depending on those planning-bots. Whatever that means … for competition he heh!

To traders the question is also, why do we care? Are you for the arts, do you contribute or are you just colonising space to make moola. That’s it. Are you art or are you fart?

I think the tiny minority fit into the meanie category. Traders are a jovial bunch of jollers. I see them there by day and at night I see them at the shows. Awe, amen, you rock.

And now for that irritating argument about size and shape of fest. OMG the recession clipped our toenails. There’s fewer feet trodding around the place. We die.

It’s interesting to see Lankester state that this is a festival for the arts. Lynette said it too in 1996. Did the hippies ¬†support the artists? Not a sausage. So give me a trader, slogging by day but in the theatre lines by night.

The real issues are political; about the people. About access to the stages for artists and all the people. It’s the eternal debate and every year it morphs. Do we regulate? Do we quality control, do we mentor, do we cap the pros, do we stay firm in our commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of arts. It’s soo deep. But one truth is that this is a giant event covering 24 genres which is, indeed, amazing.

I’m glad that the festival bosses are putting their flag in the ground (and elsewhere) in saying we are for the arts, ¬†for the artists.

The artists come. They work. They invest. They bleed. They trade. Issues of size and shape start there, with the artists, and then it’s up to the patrons to wade in, to dance.

So to the charlatans and bitter-einders who want that old (white) vibe, be gone. Change or vokof.



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