Neo Bodumela and Jessica van Tonder
NELSON Mandela Bay’s Richmond Hill is set to be transformed into a feast of colour and sound tomorrow with up to 10000 revellers expected to descend on Stanley Street for the third annual Alliance Francaise Street Music Festival.
Last year 6000 people gathered to watch 25 bands perform, but with bands as well as beer tents, food stalls, family play areas and big screen TVs for rugby fans to catch the Springbok-England test live, organisers are anticipating a turnout of more than 10000.
Event organisers said attendance had grown “nearly 300%” over the past two years.
There will be a strong police, traffic and private security presence at the all-day event, which runs from 10am to 10pm, with road closures between Stanley Street and Somerset Street where three stages will be set up for performances by musicians – some from afar afield as France.
“Our headline acts will be Braka from France, who are a 17- piece band, and Davy Sicard from the Reunion Islands who will perform with Nibs van der Spuy, and a host of Nelson Mandela Bay artists,” organiser Darren Mungur said.
“The stages will be in Stanley Street, Lutman Street and right on the traffic circle in front of Vovo Telo restaurant”.
The event, hosted by Alliance Francaise as part of the French Season in South Africa, will feature 25 bands hailing from France, the Reunion Islands and from the Bay.
“This is not a show only for professionals, this is a platform to give every band or singer a chance to show their skills,” Mungur said.
Several festivals across the country will take place in cultural exchange programme. The return South African season will be held in France next year.
Musicians are eager to perform. Local group The Stuart Reece Band expressed their excitement at the prospect of performing for their second year at the festival.
“We are hoping for a great turnout, despite the weather forecast,” Stuart Reece said.
Also performing is Bongeziwe Mabandla from Johannesburg, currently one of 10 finalists for the RFI-France 24 Discoveries Award.