When festivals just aren’t fun any more

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

As a kid, April was my favourite month of the year outside of December. Not only did we get chocolate-coated eggs for Easter, but each April brought a spectacle that, as a child, filled me with excitement. I grew up in Mondeor and from where we lived we had an excellent view of the giant spotlights that lit up the sky and signaled that the Rand Show was in town.

We’d sometimes go to the show and everything about it was awesome. There were helicopter flips, funfair rides, hot dogs, speed boat displays and if you timed it right, you’d get to watch the South African National Defence Force display. There were guys selling all sort of interesting things that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Yes, the Rand Show was the place to be.

Fast forward a decade and some things had changed. There was nothing particularly interesting on sale. Teenagers can’t afford speed boats, the army display seemed cheesy and your holiday pocket money would only allow for so many funfair rides. Still, it was better than the mall.

A decade of difference

Jump another ten years and I honestly can’t think of any worse place to be. Sure, you can find some good deals on items for the home, but it means putting up with crowds and noise and queues and those people selling trinkets that have no use. I really hate it when pushy sales people try coercing me into buying that 15-in-1 potato peeler/juicer/grater/screwdriver/shoe horn combo. And the funfair rides are a rip off!

Outside of wine and food shows, I’ve given most festivals a skip in the last few years. This year I will be making a return to Lusito Land but I won’t lie – I’m going for the prawns and caipirinhas (or klap-a-rinhas as I like to call them). I’m trying to work out if Joburg’s festivals have changed or if I am just becoming anti-social.

I’ve devised a simple “yes” or “no” test for the over-30s to take.

  • Do you plan to spend your weekends watching movies or TV series?

  • +

Does the thought of staying out later than 10pm fill you with dread?

  • Do you get two-day hangovers, even when you’ve only had a few glasses of wine?

  • +

Do you find yourself taking up hobbies that keep you at home?

  • Do you listen to youth radio stations and have no idea who many of the artists are?

If you find yourself answering “yes” to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance that you’ll be the neighbourhood curmudgeon who gives chocolate-coated rocks to those damn pesky kids on Halloween.

Can the desire to be anti-social be changed? I’m not sure. But if my next column is a story about the police holding cells at Lusito Land, we’ll at least know that caipirhinias can temporarily help the over-30s be a little more outgoing than usual.

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