Picture Perfect Hilton Arts Festival

Hilton College: 14 – 16 September 2018
Picture-perfect weather, bumper crowds and great art, music and theatre were enjoyed at the 26th annual Hilton Arts Festival taking place in the Midlands over the weekend.
Atypically the festival was consistently sunny, bright and warm – despite predictions of rain and wind – which encouraged day trippers and browsers enjoying a good day out. Early figures suggest that numbers of visitors to the festival on Saturday far exceeded expectations.
“We were delighted that there were so many visitors to the festival on Saturday browsing through the craft market, enjoying the free music and entertainment, looking at the art exhibitions, having a leisurely meal…. and seeing shows. Numbers were up for door sales for productions on Saturday resulting in many of the productions being close to sold-out on Saturday,” says Evan Roberts, of the festival management committee.
“Detailed stats and numbers are not yet available – but due to the overall good weather the numbers of day trippers increased from last year. The attendance for Saturday showed a marked improvement compared to previous years (calculated by numbers of cars through the gate) and attendance overall look very healthy” said Festival Director, Sue Clarence.
The festival started with a super-successful Jongosi youth day on Friday – with a bespoke range of youth-appropriate events, shows and exhibitions.
Of special mention this year was the tribute to honour Nelson Mandela’s centenary year: Two massive outdoor exhibitions were on display: Louis Olivier’s thought-provoking THINK bench commissioned by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB); and Guy Ferrer’s monumental public bronze art sculpture: T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E, and John Meyer’s artworks Mandela: A Life’s Journey. Inspired by the life and character of Mr. Nelson Mandela, pianist, composer, arranger, Burton Naidoo transcribed some of Mr Mandela’s’ most iconic speeches and set them to music: Our Song.
Recognising the late Errol Boyley, one of South Africa’s greatest landscape artists, the festival hosted a retrospective exhibition of Boyley’s World: The Errol Boyley Centenary Exhibition in the Normand Dunn Gallery. Also on the walls again was the latest instalment of the ever-increasing exhbition of festival participants by Harry Lock entitled Out of Character.
Auction experts Strauss & Co were at the festival for the second time, sharing tips with visitors about online buying of art, art as investment, doing on-site evaluations and an online auction. Family-friendly fare was high on the agenda, with the festival’s affiliation with youth theatre experts, Assitej (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People), who offered a range of productions and workshops.
Festival Director, Sue Clarence continued:”We are delighted that we had such a successful festival again. I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you firstly to the entire creative, management and technical team for their dedication, good humour and hard work; and secondly to our sponsors and partners who made the festival possible.
The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee Design, DWR Distribution, Extreme Events, Bidvest Car Rental, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, Redlands Hotel, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, BASA, RMB and Corona.
For more info visit http://www.hiltonfestival.co.za/ or like the Facebook page, Hilton Arts Festival. Follow us on Twitter @HiltonFest and Instagram.

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