A destination of choice for families enjoying their annual school holiday, this year the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival took place for the 31st time from 4 to 13 July 2014. The success of this year’s festival was also celebrated by some of South Africa’s most iconic family-minded brands who have just embarked on a new five-year partnership agreement.
Knysna Tourism CEO Greg Vogt says finding the right synergy between sponsors is key to the festival’s success. “One of the main reasons the festival is popular among families is because it’s supported by brands focused on their wellness, such as Momentum, which was earlier this year confirmed as a naming-rights sponsor for its anchor sporting events. Together with the continued support of Pick n Pay, we have found a good balance between the brand values of the festival, its partners, and the Knysna lifestyle.”
Pick n Pay’s General Manager of Marketing, Malcolm Mycroft, says the future of the festival is bright, having already grown exponentially over the past 10 years. “It is truly incredible seeing how far the festival has come, and with our new partners in place it is set to reach even greater heights, not only in terms of what the festival offers as the ideal winter getaway, but what we are ultimately able to give back to the surrounding communities, which speaks to the very heart of
Pick n Pay”.
Head of Momentum Brand Danie van den Bergh says it was great to be a partner for the first time. “At Momentum we believe true health leads to true wealth. We are all about families, and the financial wellness of families, so it’s a privilege for us to see our clients enjoying time in Knysna while having the opportunity to put something back through the festival’s many charity and community initiatives. We look forward to seeing our involvement grow over the next five years.”
Vogt explains the festival’s unique model. “By bringing together brands like Pick n Pay and Momentum we can better partner to bring families together, to provide an opportunity for them to spend time with their clients who are on holiday in Knysna, and to work together to give back to the community.”
Vogt says efforts to diversify the festival programme to cater to all age groups is paying off. “I heard positive feedback on the many events for kids, as well as the expanded programme for teens.”
Vogt, who participated in the festival’s first BIG5 Sport Challenge Lite, also commented on the smooth execution of key sporting events. “I enjoyed the camaraderie of the BIG5 Challenge. The event has gained traction and will become more of a focus going forward. The municipality has indicated that events were well run, the new road cycle route worked well, and there were no real traffic issues. I want express my gratitude to the municipality for their support, which was invaluable towards ensuring the smooth running of events.”
Vogt also commends Wesgro for their support of both the Living Local Green Chefs programme and the Knysna Living Local Collective Craft Shop. “This year the shop turned over just under R62 000 in sales over ten days – a 50% increase from last year, and a source of income to 40 Eden District crafters.”
Festival Manager Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt says this year the festival saw many improvements. “Reports show that this has been a great festival. Every year local business gets a boost during the festival period, and while 44% of accommodation establishments and 19% of restaurants said business this year was about the same, a whopping 48% of accommodation establishments and 76% of restaurants reported increased turnovers over previous years. Key mid-week events were especially well supported. Tickets sold out for the Knysna Wine Festival on 7 and 8 July, The Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival Flavours of Knysna served with Tabasco® gourmet evening on 9 July, and the Comedy Shuckle on 10 July. New events, like the Oyster Comedy Festival, the TEENS-4-TOTS triathlon, and the Junior Golf Tournament were well received; additional support will help them grow in the years to come.”
The festival is famous for its ongoing investment in the local community and has over the past seven years given back an incredible R8,7-million to local charities and initiatives. Rousseau-Schmidt explains, “Every official event on the programme donates a portion of their proceeds to charity, part of the festival’s ongoing investment in the community. We’re busy working with the various event managers to calculate the value of the 2014 charity handover now – as soon as it becomes available we will release the figure.”
Rousseau-Schmidt says overall the festival’s success comes down to its support network. “None of this would have been possible without the dedication of all event organisers, Knysna Tourism, the municipality, Pick n Pay, Momentum, and all of our other sponsors. I want to express my gratitude to each and every one, and I must of course also thank the many loyal festival attendees who support us by coming to Knysna each year. We are very fortunate to have the support of corporate sponsors who are committed over the long term to seeing the festival grow during a difficult economic time. Sponsors are hard to find, and to find sponsors that fit the Knysna brand and what it stands for, even more so. We are looking forward to grow the festival and the benefit to Knysna even more.”
The festival drives more than 50,000 visitors to the region during the quieter winter season, with over 100 peripheral local events providing something of interest to everybody.