Makiti Rained Out
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How can they prevent the next JBay Makiti from being a disaster?

I helped a friend (who sells delicious corn dogs) man his stalletjieĀ at the Makiti over the weekend and, to be diplomatic, I’d call the weekend an “interesting” turnout.

On Friday, the first day of the Makiti, the wind raced through the Jeffreys Bay Caravan Park, the chosen venue, like a ‘bok wing on steroids.

One of the large mess tents couldn’t handle the pressure and dove for cover, leaving a crew of workers trying for hours to coax it back up, unsuccessfully.

Visitors were scant.

At times it felt like we were sitting on the stoep of a house in the middle of the Karoo, scouting the horison for a spec of dust to signal the coming of a long awaited friend. It was like trying to find a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe.

Saturday saw the weather clear up a little, but it was still a miserable day in comparison to previous gems we’d enjoyed in September.

Stalletjie sales climbed and my friend, who’s far more positive than I (I’m a pessimist-leaning realist), thought he’d manage to make his target for the day. He didn’t.

I strolled to the music stage every now and then. It was disheartening to see musicians singing to rows and rows of empty white chairs. It looked like they were performing in a necropolis.

On Saturday evening Adam performed. This was probably the most successful show of the event. Attendance was poorer than they deserve, but it seemed better than for other acts.

Then came Sunday.

Sunday was supposed to be the zenith of the event. Corlea, Elvis Blue and Demi Lee Moore were supposed to offer a sweet conclusion to an otherwise dismal weekend.

But the day was off to a disastrous start, with weather as friendly as a pirate captain suffering from a babelaas.

Rain bucketed down at times, making it impossible for festival goers to, well, go festival.

The wind didn’t help either, with gusts sweeping sheets of rain into our little stalletjie (and others).

The only respite I could find was the sierjaslie lekker caramel and melktert pannekoeke a few stalletjies up from us.

Not long before the main acts were supposed to transport us to a musical Utopia, lighting struck, bringing with it the immediate cancellation of the JBay Makiti.

It was a sad conclusion to something that could have been a triumphant follow-up to last year’s event.

After the Makiti we deliberated on how the event could have been made a success.

It was clear that inclement weather played its part in fouling up the weekend, but is it a case of, “it is what it is”?

In my opinion, no.

I know it’s not easy to arrange an event of this magnitude, and I’m sure organisers did the best they could given the conditions, but perhaps they might learn a thing or two through feedback received from stall owners and festival goers (and weather).

One complaint among some stall owners was that there were too many food stalls. Another complaint along the same lines was that the layout didn’t cater to food stalls properly. One food stall owner mentioned that the organisers should have created more of a food court feel, instead of dotting food stalls along the breadth and width of the Makiti.

The blown over tent was an obvious issue. This could have given festival goers the necessary cover for those periods when the rain poured down.

We also discussed venues. For instance, using the Jeffreys Bay Primary School rugby field and grounds would allow for the use of more tents, or bigger tents. It might also offer more cover from wind.

Someone brought up Milkwood Market as a possible venue. Milkwood Market as it currently stands could serve as the food court, while the open land next to Fountains Mall, behind Milkwood, could be used for housing a stage and other activities.

As for the weather, speaking to a calamari fisherman friend of mine brought to light the fact that September is not the best time of year for this sort of jol. Perhaps they should look at moving the Makiti closer to December. But just speaking to fishermen might cast more light on what the best time of year for the Makiti would be.

It was sad to see such a magnificent opportunity not deliver to its full potential. Yes, the weather played a major part, but there were other aspects that, if handled differently, might have delivered a better result.

Were you at the Makiti? Do you have any suggestions to make next year a roaring success, even if the weather is terrible?

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19 Comments

  • I did not attend as I think the entry fee excludes a lot of people? It really becomes a lot if you are a family of 4 or 5? Then you would still like to spend some money inside but cannot afford to!? The parking is also quite a headache I drove past there!

    • Thanks for your comment, Claressa. Appreciate it. The parking seems to have been an issue.

  • How about the venue at Mentors kraal?
    Maybe plan the Makiti in December when Jeffreys bay is packed with holiday makers

    • Never even thought about Mentors, but that might be a fantastic venue option too.

  • I agree!! It was boring!! Wrong time of the year, nothing interesting, boring stalletjies, and last year I was allowed to take my 2 small dogs in, which are in a stroller, this year the “security lady” told me: If you dare going in I will arrest you! So nope, I will never attend again!!

    • Never say never šŸ™‚ If they make a few changes your dogs might just have the jol of their lives!

      • Great event last year, I had a stall cost was R800 for stand, solid tent R6000. 2 staff members @R200 per person per day including the entrance fee and 3x day food for them.
        Not talking about stock, flyers and banners.
        My total sales for that weekend was R1000….. So will I do it again?
        What do you think…….
        This year the stall rental was R1500…. Still think about last years expense and efforts NO THANKS
        ABOUT ENTRY FEE…. Well if I pay for a Saturday afternoon…. And only walk around for a hour or two supporting some food and drinks….. You spend a bit.
        On the Same day was the Oyster festival also sponsored by kouga municipality
        So were do you go?
        Next weekend is the Loerie Nartjie fees…. My budget gone and cannot support another festival in such a short period.

        • Thanks for your comment, Hanli.

          I think you’re referring to the Calamari Festival? And yes, it’s as though they’re trying to cram in as many festivals as possible. Moderation might bring better success to stall holders and give festival goers’ wallets a bit of a break.

  • The entry fee was excessive! I could not afford to pay for 3 adults to enter and then still support the stalls. I cannot comment on the music – none of the artists are known to me. I miss the old Shell Festival c.1995 where there were lovely stalls with original hand made goods of outstanding quality and very little duplication. Entrance was free – it was held at the beachfront – and people supported it well. It was actually the highlight of the year for me until it became just another flea-market full to the brim of Chinese knock-offs.

    • Interesting. Seems many people found the entrance fee costly. I’ve heard rumours of a possible Shell Festival resuscitation. However, I agree with you; It would need to go back to the original format if they’re to see it succeed.

      • I don’t think the Shell Festival should be resurrected but why not make the Makiti into something we can all get behind and support? Combine the best of both festivals? I think a venue change would be awesome BUT the question is where will it be accessible to all without parking problems? What about Mentoors with a bus service? Perhaps a park and ride system? Mentoors is a lovely venue with lots of space and it’s mostly flat making it accessible for those with mobility problems – just a thought.

        • As replied to Nadia, I never even considered Mentors, but it’s a great idea. There’s parking aplenty; there’s vast space for stalls and a stage. Thanks for your comment!

  • Does the region need two major events over the same weekend?. The Calamari Festival in St Francis has proven to be a well supported event and maybe council needs to back one horse at a time. The Calamari includes golf, bowls, squash, a marathon, a junior surfing event, a wonderful market and of course the Calamari Cook-off competition. And this year there was the South African Schools Adventure Racing Championships to add to a very successful weekend.

    • Thanks for your comment, Colin. I’ve never even heard of the Calamari Festival. Admittedly, I’m not an active social media user, so it’s easy for me to miss these things. It sounds like it’s a fantastic festival, similar to the JBay Winterfest. And I agree with you; it would be better to back one horse at a time. What was the entry fee for the Calamari Festival?

  • It is obvious that weather conditions plays a major role in the success of any outdoor festival.Even though the organizers took that into consideration by providing under roof seating,only the brave went out in the howling wind and rain.The remainder(majority) chose to stay indoors.
    A change of venue would not have made any difference and the current location in my opinion is perfect,even for a future Makiti.
    I am sure that most of the “Food Stall” holders had a similar experience with low/average sales,due to the large number of stalls offering “take away” food.The organizers should seriously consider only allowing a certain number of such stalls in future.Your specific friend must consider diversifying his product offering,as you cannot rely on a single product.Once the customer walks over your “doorstep”the golden rule is “SELL” and meet his/her needs.Even if you only start with say a coffee/cold drink at a low markup.It is worth a try.Just my 2 cents worth.

    • Hi Deon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      As I explain in the article, part of the under-roof seating went to pot due to the wind taking it down. There was an attempt to erect the tent once it fell, but this was laid to rest when it seemed unsuccessful. Had they persisted, this could have changed things dramatically.

      A change of venue could make a huge difference. Think of the parking situation. Milkwood or Mentors might be able to offer a far better option in this regard.

      Another thing: if they held the music under roof, more people would have attended, irrespective of weather.

  • Its seems quite a number of people have brilliant ideas on how to improve the makiti having never organised one event of this magnitude in their entire life, including the author of this article. Yet, I concur, some valid points are raised and there is room for improvement as we grow. I will relay your views to the organisers. Its only the 2nd time after all…so dont be too harsh.

    • Hi Horatio,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There are BRILLIANT points raised by readers in the comments section of this article. Even if you ignore my article you’d do well to take them to heart.

      It was not my intention to be harsh, nor is it my intention to organise anything of this magnitude. And the organisers have my respect. I even say something to that effect in my article.

      All the best with your next venture. And if you need some publicity (outside of Facebook; I generally don’t spend time there), give me a shout. Perhaps we can work together.

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