Everitt International sponsors 'festival with finesse'

Dries Basson
The historical Boland town of Paarl is going all out to launch its new Cultivaria festival and establish it as a premier event on the country's cultural festival calendar.

The event has already attracted strong support from the Paarl business community, including Dries Basson, owner of the Chas Everitt International franchise in the town, who says it is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the town and will present a "wonderful opportunity to market our town to people who might otherwise never have visited Paarl".

To be held in the spring, Cultivaria will be a "festival with finesse," says organiser and Paarl businessman Gerhard Meyer. "We will focus on attracting visitors whose primary objective is to attend the stage performances.
"Many true festival goers are disenchanted with the peripheral activities around so-called cultural events countrywide and we are therefore excluding the fleamarket element. There will also not be tented accommodation," he says.

There will, however, be plenty to eat, with Faure Stadium housing three buffet restaurants and a cheese "emporium".

Cultivaria will be a wine festival as well the name reflects the many wine cultivars the area produces, as well as the variety of cultures that will be represented. Meyer says stage productions will be fresh. "More than 70 percent will be debut productions and the offering will span opera, ballet, and classical and contemporary music."

Cultivaria will also be the first festival to offer a sports component. Cycling, running, golf and squash, as well as several "extreme" events will feature at the festival, which is scheduled to run from 21 to 25 September.

Meyer says the planning committee aims at making Cultivaria the biggest event on the local cultural scene in terms of ticket sales within three years. "But we are not interested in just getting feet through the gates. We envisage a festival in the purest sense of the word and want to attract patrons who will really support local performing art."
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