Hermanus is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for the seventh annual FynArts Festival, which kicks off on Friday evening with the festive opening concert, Mostly Mozart, followed by 10 days of music performances, art exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, workshops, children’s events, vintage films, and food and wine events.

The 2019 Hermanus FynArts Festival from 7 –17 June will once again play host to acclaimed artists, musicians, performers, chefs, authors and presenters who have been invited to entertain, inspire and delight their audiences. True to its unique format as a fusion of arts festival and winter school, FynArts will also inform, challenge and educate festival-goers on a wide range of subjects.

One of the first tangible signs that FynArts is on its way, is when the large sculptures arrive for installation on the cliffs at Gearing’s Point. This year was no different and there was great excitement when the new works for ‘Sculpture on the Cliffs’ arrived on Monday morning. This outdoor group exhibition remains in place for a whole year and adds to the attraction of this popular tourist spot, where the sculptures can be enjoyed by locals and visitors until next year’s festival.

According to Festival Director, Mary Faure, ticket sales are up on last year. “Given the current economic climate, this is quite amazing,” she says. “I think it might be due to the fact that we offer a bigger programme this year with even more variety than before. Ticket sales indicate that more people from out of town are coming to Hermanus for FynArts – even from as far away as Canada and Australia. This unique home-grown festival is now on the international map!”

Mary adds that she is grateful for the enthusiastic support from artists, many of whom are already on the waiting list for next year’s festival. “FynArts is clearly here to stay!” she says. “Thank you to the local Hermanus community for its support and participation, especially the many volunteers, the Overstrand Municipality, wine estates, galleries, restaurants and accommodation establishments that have sponsored beds for the artists and the interns who will act as guides and tour hosts during the festival. Without your goodwill, FynArts would not be possible.”

The weather forecast for the first FynArts weekend through to Wednesday next week is good, with no rain predicted. For those who have not yet booked their tickets, make sure you collect a programme booklet at the Hermanus Tourism office – or find the full programme online at www.hermanusfynarts.co.za

Always a highlight on the FynArts programme is the Strauss & Co Series of Talks and Presentations, which this year covers topics ranging from art to literature to theatre to music to history. An opportunity to meet the inspiring Sindiwe Magona, recipient of the 2019 FynArts Legacy Award, should be at the top of every festival-goer’s wish list. As a teacher, civil servant, novelist, poet, playwright and women’s activist, Sindiwe has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work and her outstanding achievements in literature.

Come and listen to Sindiwe as she receives her award and talks to Christopher Hope about her life’s work in the Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, 8 June at 09:30 or join her for high tea at The Marine on Monday 10 June at 15:00, when she’ll present a talk entitled Woman to Woman.

Another highlight is a series of three presentations by Michael Godby on William Kentridge: Drawings for Projection. Personal and political themes are intertwined in this series of animated, charcoal, hand-drawn films, perhaps the artist’s most experimental and deeply-felt work. The three presentations will be screened in the Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, 8 June at 11:00, 14:00 and 15:30.

For history buffs there are two talks – one by Joanna Hardie on Pamela Churchill, the fascinating daughter-in-law of Winston Churchill (Wed 12 June at 11:00 in the Municipal Auditorium), and the other by Rev James Gray, entitled Waltzing with Rommel (Thurs 13 June at 11:00 in the United Church). Another local resident, photographer Leanne Dryburgh, whose book, Fifty Years with the Wild Horses will be launched on Tuesday 11 June at the Harbour House Hotel, will present a talk on the free-roaming horses of the Overberg, taking the audience through their history with stories, facts and photographs (Sat 15 June at 14:00 in the Windsor Hotel).

Also on the FynArts programme are spectacular music performances, ballet, theatre, book readings, workshops and children’s events. Local icon, Karen Zoid, whose name is now a byword for emotionally charged, downright incendiary South African rock music, makes her first appearance at FynArts. Karen Zoid Live in Concert (Sat 15 June at 19:00 in the Curro School Hall) is bound to thrill festival-goers with her unmistakable voice, her passionate energy and razor-sharp lyrics. And for those more interested in the culinary arts, don’t miss the Wine Plus Series of Tutored Tastings hosted at Hermanus’ fabulous new venue, The Wine Glass, or the chefs’ demonstrations in the FynArts pop-up kitchen at the United Church – this year equipped with a large TV screen for improved viewing.

Tickets can be booked at the Hermanus Tourism office (tel: 028 312 2629 or 060 957 5371) or online at www.webtickets.co.za or www.hermanusfynarts.co.za

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