Slow down and reflect at the Poetry in McGregor Festival + 3 winter festivals to experience around SA

Feed your soul with poetry performed by local artists and bask in a weekend of relaxation by escaping to the town of McGregor for the sixth Poetry in McGregor Festival.

Poetry enthusiasts will delight in the festival that’s set to take place on 24-26 August, featuring more than 160 poets participating at various venues throughout the town.

Organised by The MAC Project, some of the poets on the festival line-up include Kobus Moolman, Ian McCullum, Galeo Saintz, Douglas Reid Skinner, Patricia Schonstein, Athol Williams, Medzani Musandiwa, Margaret Clough, Dan Wylie, Phillippa Yaa, Nomashenge, Toast Coetzer, Erns Grundling, Joan Hambidge, Willem Fransman, Fourie Botha, and Lara Kirsten among others.

SEE: Winter 2018 festivals to experience around SA

“Poetry as an art form deserves more platforms and support. Poems often present multiple possibilities that range over infinite fields, not only in the use of language but in all aspects of human existence,” says founder of the Festival, Billy Kennedy, adding that poetry can change the way we think about ourselves and how we see the world.

The theme for this year’s festival is “The Sound of Water” and poets have envisioned many presentations of the theme. Among the must-see pieces are “Desert Rain” by David Tyfield, “Haunted by Water” by Wendy Woodward and Christine Coates, “Homage to the Waters” by Marguerite de Villiers, “Songs of Water” by the Worst End Theatre Company, “Waterways” by Joseph Koetsier. To see a full list of participating poets and their presentations click here.

What to expect?

New to this year’s festival is the Helenvale Poets “back a buddy” project that aims to bring 20 emerging poets from Helenvale in Port Elizabeth to the McGregor Poetry Festival. For more information or to make a donation, click here.

The festival also features open mic sessions, Off the wall and Grounding sessions, a school’s programme on the Friday morning for scholars from the surrounding areas, book launches, writing workshops, poetry walks in nature, audio-visual presentations, exhibitions and group productions.

Must-see group productions include “Memories of Water” by The Mothertongue Youth Theatre Company, that employs local performers from the Langeberg region. The performance combines poetry, physical theatre and sound, and self-written poems in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Also see “Finding Water: This is how it is” by The Life Righting Collective, an NPO that supports creative growth in people who have been denied such opportunities.

Need to know:

When: 24 - 26 August.

Where: Various venues in McGregor that are walking distance of one another.

Cost: Get your tickets at Computicket from mid-July 2018 and remember to book accommodation in advance.

Kennedy, says that the Festival is significant as “poetry can remind us to slow down and to reflect more consciously and sensitively on our lives and our deeper connection to ourselves, to one another and to the world.”

So make the most of a full weekend at the Festival and explore the dorpie too. See art, visit quaint pubs and restaurants, go on hiking trails and wine tastings, among other activities.

SEE: Wine worth travelling for: 6 Wineries setting the boutique benchmark in SA

Winter festivals across SA

The 12th annual Slow Food & Wine Festival is ready to take over the Robertson Wine Valley from 3 – 5 August offering festival-goers an immersive and indulgent foodie experience.

Food and wine enthusiasts will get to savour the flavours of the countryside at their desired leisurely pace. Each experience must be booked directly with the host at robertsonslow.com. There’s also a Family Market on the Sunday, free of charge for all to visit.

SEE: #LoveSA: Escape winter with these events across Western Cape

Ah, good old Oppikoppi! South Africa's quintessential rock festival will be drawing thousands of music fanatics and good time chasers to the dustiness that is Northam in Limpopo one again this year. The full line-up has not yet been announced.

Tickets start at R575, which includes a festival pass and allows you to pitch a tent in the designated camping areas. However, if you're after a bit of comfort, you can always opt for one of the fancy schmancy tent hotels.

SEE: Beat the winter blues with these cool indoor adventures across SA

This year is the Hantam Vleisfees' 29th anniversary, so if you've never been before, why not now? As the name suggests, the festival revolves around meat. But not just any meat! Karoo mutton and lamb to be more specific. Apart from delicious hearty food, the festival also presents an array of popular Afrikaans artists.

While ticket prices haven't been confirmed, you can expect to pay round about R50 for entry to the festival on Friday night and R80 on the Saturday. Keep an eye on the Hantam Vleisfees website for details.