Finding God at Fest again

Jesus College Choir, Cambridge
Verena Salzwedel is a retired teacher and has attended the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for many years. She is always intrigued by the amazing range of God-given talents employed at the biggest arts festival in the southern hemisphere. And this year she found God intentionally on display in various genres. She reports on what she discovered — and what you can still get to experience.

Yes, it’s amazing time again – the biggest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere – on show in Grahamstown from June 28 to July 8 2018.

To quote the chairman of the National Arts Festival board : …”we hope you have an inspiring time once more.”

Last year, we gave you a mid-fest report on what we found to be inspiring in the best spiritual sense of the word.

This year, to help you to plan to get there, we share some ideas of forthcoming shows gleaned from the programme (refer page nos.), which is available online at To book tickets, you can phone 086 000 2004 or book online.

Some suggestions :
Choral music lovers will appreciate the renowned choir of Jesus College , Cambridge in Choral Connections (p89). They will also sing in the Festival Eucharist at the cathedral, as part of Spiritfest.

Of course, there are many events pointing towards God at Spiritfest. Check out the details on p239-240 of the festival programme: worship, meditation, prayer, music. For example A Feather on the Breath of God (p100) is a special classical music concert celebrating compositions by women through the ages. In the midst of the potential for input overload during Fest, find 40 minutes of peace in the Be Still and Know programme of meditative music ( p240)

If you want to rejoice at the incredible musical talent the Creator has given to some and how they have developed it and share it, then see if you can still get tickets for Classic Blast with the KZN Youth Orchestra ( p227) , the Festival Gala Concert ( p90) and Souldiers of the Drum by the Kearnsey College Choir ( p233). If you want your faith refreshed, The Creed a capella group, is a must (p234)

Creative Workshops
If you would like to further some of your own creative talent ( yes, you do have some !), sign up for one or more of these workshops or lectures ( pp 125-131) e.g. Breaking through barriers ( a photography workshop)

‘The Little Prince’.

The Little Prince, ( p79) an African adaptation of the famous story is suitable for the family. Use the opportunity to have discussions about man’s search for meaning in life. A poignant production of Ernest Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea ( p180) should be worthwhile, as would Jam every other Day ( p173) a drama which aims to help one “discover the joy of a large family and an unconventional life.” A sobering look at the problem of migration is presented in When Swallows Cry ( p190)

For a bit of light relief there’s comedy . Much of it has age restrictions and cautionary symbols, but Abu Pays His Debts (p203) is advertised as suitable for all ages and encourages “respect for peoples’ feelings.” At R20, tickets are very affordable.

‘Possible Impossibilities’

What’s ongoing
Visual art exhibitions and installations run throughout the festival. 40 Stones in the Wall, ( p241) at festival for the 5th time and fresh from a debut exhibition as part of the prestigious First Thursdays in Cape Town, is a collective of drawings, paintings ,sculpture, photographs, fabric art and lithographic prints – a group exhibition by “a collective of young artists from across the country who explore the relationship between faith and artistic practice.”

Find it in the Cory Room, next to the Long Table in High Street. Another venue is at Fort Selwyn, just outside the monument and Franli Meintjies is also doing a solo exhibition titled Possible Impossibilities at Carinus Art Centre ( p246) If you are inspired to worship by being in nature, then Palettes in Nature ( p245) and Beauty in the Details (p241) should be worth a visit.

And then , of course, there’s dance, film, talks and all that jazz. You can go on your own treasure hunt, right to the outer edge of the fringe. This was just to whet your appetite. Enjoy!

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