As the Garden Route’s Festival Season gathers steam en route to July’s Oyster Festival in Knysna, a highlight of the calendar is no doubt Sedgefield’s 2012 Slow Festival, to be held over Easter. What on earth is a Slow Festival one might well ask? Essentially the concept of ‘Slow Towns’ encompasses all that our modern, fast-paced and somewhat narcissistic society has lost sight of – basic community values, wholesome lifestyles, quality rather than quantity, real food and fun, our link with the environment and unselfishness. The Cittaslow movement , a global membership organization promoting a return to those values society has chosen to shy away from, originated in Italy in 1999 and now includes some 150 cities/towns/villages worldwide.
The laid back, relaxed coastal town of Sedgefield has remarkably been awarded the honour of recognition by the Cittaslow movement as Africa’s very first Slow Town! Credit for this acclaim must go to local resident André Gauché who, after after being introduced to the concept by a friend, did some homework and realized that his hometown may indeed qualify according to the 50 goals and principles Cittaslow ascribes to. Sedgefield was officially accepted by the movement in 2010 and was fully accredited as a Slow Town in October of that year.
Local citizens soon realized the huge brand value of being declared a Slow Town in the marketing of Sedgefield and the innovative idea of holding an annual festival to further this aim led to the birth of the Sedgefield Slow Festival in 2010. Each year is something of a learning curve and the 2012 Festival promises to showcase, as never before, the myriad of ‘Slow’ attributes this seaside village is all about. With the backing of Knysna Tourism and Algoa FM, as well exposure via various social media, this year’s Festival promises to be the best thus far.
As previously mentioned, the Festival is all about values, wholesome fun, charity, community and our environment – so bring the whole family to Sedgefield over Easter for some wonderful entertainment and fun.
The Festival’s packed program of events includes something for everyone, young and old – to mention but a few : Easter Bunny Beach Fling, Go-Slow Paragliding Competition, Goukamma Traverse, Float Box Derby, Slow Fest Pentaque Competition, Chef Alma’s Gourmet Food and Wine Evening, Geo Slow Easter Treasure Hunt, Sotheby’s Slow Kite Festival, The Ultimate Wacky Race, Sandsculpting Challenge and Cycleworx Sedgefield Tour de Lente MTB Challenge.
As with past Festivals a percentage of all profits will be earmarked for selected charities – furthering the Cittaslow ethos. A ground breaking initiative this year is to bring the Festival to the poorer areas of Sedgefield – kudos to Hugo Ngaka, Morne Galant and Charmonay Ruiters for this visionary move. Easter Garden Route visitors should definitely make their way to Sedgefield to experience the magic of ‘Slowness’! Bamboo, the Guest House Knysna guests will have no problem getting to the Slow Festival as Sedgefield is only a short drive from Knysna.
ORANGE is the hue of this year’s festival – “Let’s give everyone who visits Sedgefield that warm ‘n fuzzy orange feeling” - succinctly put by Festival co-ordinator, Amanda Dixon of Tumbleweeds Events.
Get to this year’s Sedgefield Slow Festival and experience once again what we have perhaps forgotten!