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Arts festival warms up

Grahamstown Festival

THE FIRST few days of the National Arts festival are always about orientating yourself. That is, if you are staying for more than just a few. If you are only in the town of saints and sinners for a short while, you have to dive right in, and the first port of call is your programme. Once you have thoroughly confused yourself with 296 pages, you take a wander around the streets and gawk at the posters, to be found on every flat surface, smooth or not.

By the end of the 13-day fest, the posters are several layers thick, and it is survival not of the fittest, but the production company with the ladder and the better glue.

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The Eastern Cape Ensemble wows the crowd during Grahamstown Arts Festival opening ceremony held at the monument buildings. This year is the 40th anniversary of the festival.
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A young performer is rousing guests' curiosity during the Grahamstown Arts Festival opening ceremony held at the monument building.
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Most of the walls around Grahamstown are covered in poters as the Arts Festival gets into gear. This year is the 40th anniversary of the festival.
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Grahamstown is surprisingly warm as the Arts Festival promises to the biggest this year as it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the festival.
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Win Botha's, The Epic Mundane Exhibition is shown at the History Museum during the Grahamstown Arts Festival. This year is the 40th anniversary of the festival.
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Young entertainers Aphiwe Willem, Lebohang Mafele and Lihle Peter doing ther thing at the monument during the Grahamstown Arts Festival. This year is the 40th anniversary of the festival.
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Michael Boynton(10) and Liyabona Xanti(9) enjoy a ride during the Grahamstown Arts Festival. This year is the 40th anniversary of the festival.
040714. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

The local kids have moved on from the days of shosholoza and gumboot dancing on the corner, and now seem firmly entranced by the idea of painting their faces and adopting a pose for money.

The stallholders are getting ready for the hordes that hopefully descend today, but it is not just the crafters on the Transnet Village Green Fair hoping to drum up custom. There are several hawkers who come to the Fiddlers Green hoping to attract the people from Grahamstown's township, bringing everyday items like boots and clothing to what is usually a cold space. The weather is holding, so people are out and about, but always with the idea that it will not last. It will get cold, and we will move inside.

• The National Arts Festival is on in Grahamstown until July 13. Check www.iol.co.za for our coverage.

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