Show goes on as Franschhoek Bastille Festival moves online

Franschhoek Wine Valley is usually a hive of activity in July as festival goers celebrate the region’s French heritage
BERETS AND BUBBLY: Franschhoek Wine Valley is usually a hive of activity in July as festival goers celebrate the region’s French heritage
Image: Supplied

Not even Covid-19 could keep one of SA’s longest-running festivals from taking place this year.

The Franschhoek Bastille Festival, which was launched in 1994, takes place annually over the same weekend of the French Bastille festivities, and sees thousands of festival  goers fill the streets of Franschhoek to celebrate the valley’s French heritage.

However, this year saw a different turn of events and instead of cancelling, the organisers used this as an opportunity to take the festival to the people.

A 10-day countdown, which commenced on July 1, took viewers through a virtual journey of the Franschhoek Valley as each day revealed a new experience.

Some of the experiences included cellar tours, a walk through the garden of Babylonstoren farm, a guided tour of the village, a sneak peek at the collection of vintage cars at the Franschhoek Motor Museum as well as the highly popular cook-along with Franschhoek local and celebrity chef Reuben Riffel.

Linked to the daily reveals were unbelievable offers affording the public to make use of unforgettable deals.

Although only revealed on each day of the countdown, these offers are still available until the end of July.

Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO Reinher Behrens said the virtual event had exposed the festival to viewers who would not have been able to attend it physically.

“With no blueprint to work off we didn’t know what to expect, but we were blown away by the response.

“We had the opportunity to engage with followers who, in the past, wouldn’t have been able to attend the festival, and simply with the click of a button they were able to experience the valley through our eyes,” he said.

Saturday  July 11, which would have been the date for this year’s event, saw the virtual festivities wrap up with a day filled with Franschhoek celebrations.

A sabrage, cooking demo, virtual wine tasting and a live music show were all part of the day’s lineup.

“Not only was engagement with our followers crucial, but we have also grown our social media following substantially across all of our platforms, which these days is key in getting your message out to the greater public.

“We reached just over 500,000 people in total via our relevant social media platform with this campaign,” Behrens said.

“As one of the country’s leading winelands destinations, this has certainly paved the way for future virtual festivals,” he said.

More Franschoek events will be announced on social media @franschhoeksa on Instagram and Franschhoek Wine Valley on Facebook.



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