A record more than 46 000 people who streamed into the Sundays River Valley this weekend for the 11th annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees “exceeded all expectations,” says Wildsfees director Jenni Honsbein.
“We know that the economy continues to be tough, and in recognition of that we decided not to increase entrance or stallholder fees this year. The public responded in their thousands, and we thank everyone for their support.
“It shows that the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees, with its unique mix of entertainment, stalls, expos and shows has firmly established itself as one of the premier festivals in South Africa,” she says.
“Hosted by the community of Kirkwood, the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees provides a fantastic platform for tourism, wildlife and environmental conservation in the Eastern Cape,” says DSTV’s Carmen Bennett.
“We are proud to be associated with an event that ploughs all proceeds back into the community,” says Suzette Celliers, provincial marketing manager of naming sponsors Absa.
Bennett says the vision behind the festival “also resonates” with the pay TV brand: “By running the event for the community by the community, the Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees provides temporary work for over 350 people and generates a turnover of R19 million for the area.
“All profits are subsequently invested in community-based projects – making it an event that gives back in a very real way.”
The festival is the first major festival in South Africa to be wheelchair friendly. It’s also one of the first South African festivals to go green, according to Honsbein.
One of the highlights of the festival was the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildlife Auction, which this year turned over more than R11-million.
The top price paid was R360 000 for a buffalo bull, while a family of sable antelope went for R900 000.
A white impala ewe was sold for R260 000.