Preparations for the Vodacom Durban July are well under way, with marquees ready to be set up with decor and furnishings. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA Pictures
Durban - A record number of marquees at any event on the African continent, thousands of pieces of furniture and cutlery to be placed over thousands of metres of decking and carpeting, and multitudes of fairy light strings to create that perfect setting.

Those were some of the supplies on order as the grounds at Greyville Racecourse became a frenzy of activity this week for the 121st Vodacom July Day next weekend.

The glitzy annual event, estimated to inject R260 million into the local economy, sees the cream of society come out to play.

The behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle this week highlighted the level of preparation that goes into such a high profile gathering.

Edwina Brown from Event World, which provides many of the marquees, said they started setting up on June 5. There will be three double-decker marquees trackside this year, while marquees will seat anywhere from 100 to 3000 guests and there will be more than 250 picnic sites.

All the marquees have to be removed from the golf course by the end of Sunday, July 2.

Workers prepare another structure. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA Pictures

And for those who have not got the nod to a marquee, Brown added: “There will be a new larger public area at the event this year with large screens, public seating with bars and catering behind the main stage.”

Boomtown Events, which handles Jack Daniel’s Boomtown, Glenlivet Jazztown and Vodacom Red Town, confirmed their marquees alone would host 5000 guests, with an estimated 10 000 meals to prepare. While their spokesperson, Glynnis Lategan, would not let slip any names of high profile guests expected to be spotted in their marquees, she did confirm AKA, Mafikizolo, Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Lira, Jimmy Dludlu and Tresor are among many top celebs in the line-up for the party atmosphere.

Vodacom’s senior media specialist, Andile April, said Vodacom Red Town offers a lifestyle village experience this year with premium pop-up stores, luxury car collections on show, a first-class fashion show, a champagne bar and live feeds to horse-racing and action inside surrounding marquees.

Figures were not out on Friday on the shopping list for all the meals to be prepared for next Saturday, but last year’s statistics for Greyville Racecourse catering alone, which does not include the marquees or picnic sites, required 300kg crayfish, 150kg prawns and 750kg of chicken, as well as 550kg of rice, 120kg cheese and 100kg butter. And to quench everyone’s thirst, 18 000 beers, 25 000 cold drinks, 2500 bottles of spirits and 600 bottles of wine, along with 100 litres of fruit juice and 600 litres of milk, were ordered.