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NAF ATTENDANCE (article first published : 2004-07-23)

The National Arts Festival Grahamstown saw over 131,900 attendees at the various events on offer during the Festival, representing an increase in attendance figures of 9.04%, with monetary sales this year increased by 20.24% for the combined main and fringe programmes.

“We are very pleased with the figures and the support shown this year to the 494 events and 1,829 presentations in comparison with the 464 events and 1,795 presentations in 2003,” says Lynette Marais, National Arts Festival director.

The main programme had an increase in attendees of 3.30% and an increase in monetary sales of 16.81%. On the fringe, the attendance increase was 12.94% and the monetary fringe sales increased by 22.07%.

Media attendance and support increased substantially in 2004 with 392 members of the press attending this year’s festival. The foreign media representation came from the UK, US, Scotland, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, China, Holland and Trinidad.

“The combination of a strong publicity campaign through out and the promotion of some top class events ensured good media attendance,” says Marais.

Marais commented that good interest was again shown from the overseas directors and impressarios. Shows were seen by these overseas talent scouts and taken to various international destinations last year.

In his address to the media, Mannie Manim stressed the importance of the five sponsors: The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Distribution Lottery Trust Fund, the SABC and the National Arts Council. “The success of a Festival like this depends on the continued support of our sponsors. No Festival of this size and nature can survive without this sort of funding,” he said.

The whole Eastern Cape region benefits from the Festival. Statistics show that the Festival brings in an excess of R33 million to the region each year, with many residents of Grahamstown dependent on revenues brought in during the duration of the Festival.




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