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RE-INVENT THE FESTIVAL (article first published : 2001-07-2)

At a media function yesterday, committee chairman of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival Mannie Manim showed optimism for the future of the Grahamstown Festival. He reminded those present that two years ago Standard Bank announced that it would be withdrawing as the major sponsors but would continue to support certain sectors.

He hailed Standard Bank as "fantastic sponsors" who have always been on hand when the Festival needed help and guidance but stayed "at arms length artistically".

"There has been an enormous amount of thrashing about since then," said Mannie Manim, going on to explain that the Grahamstown Foundation, which hosts the Festival, had a 12-month period of internal problems but that the organisation had been brought back on an even keel by its new Director Dr Derek Henderson.

The services of professional fundraisers were engaged by the Festival organisers but this proved unsuccessful and Paul Bannister from Ignite has now been engaged to spearhead the project.

"The Festival will have to re-invent itself in a lot of different ways," Mannie explained. "We are keen to do a bit of reconstruction and development. We are going to separate the Festival from the Foundation, to make the Festival a separate functioning organisation with its own board - possibly a Section 21 company. "

The good news is that "for the foreseeable future" the Festival will take place in Grahamstown. More good news is that figures are up on last year - already in the six-figure bracket in terms of over 100,000 attendees expected by Wednesday.




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