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UWC alumnus helps uplift Goedverwacht community with local Jazz fest

There is a new festival on the horizon for the Moravian missionary town of Goedverwacht, just outside Piketberg.

UWC alumnus helps uplift Goedverwacht community with local Jazz fest

There is a new festival on the horizon for the Moravian missionary town of Goedverwacht, just outside Piketberg. Thanks to a Goedverwacht resident and University of the Western Cape (UWC) alumna, Merle Dietrich (49), this is the second festival for this small town to help raise a sustained income for the community.

Dietrich hopes to achieve this by selling fresh produce to a much wider market during the holiday period. The Smooth Jazz In The Valley Festival (Smooth Jazz Innie Vallei-fees) takes place on 16 and 17 December. It will not only generate much needed income, but at the same time give much greater exposure to indigenous jazz sounds from in and around the Goedverwacht area.

“We want to improve the standard of living for the Goedverwacht community,” says Dietrich. She is well known for her successful “Snoek en Patat Fees” that takes place in June every year  – although it is not successful enough to yield a sustained income as yet, hence the idea of a second festival.

Dietrich talks about what drives her. “To me it's something that comes from the heart – wanting to uplift my community and teach entrepreneurship skills. I give back to my community, because I've received so much from them in the past,” says the former student of entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Finance at UWC.

The festival plans are now finalised. “There are eight bands who have confirmed, of which Cape Town bands include The Pedestrians – winners of the Battle of the Bands Competition at Quay Four Restaurant in Cape Town – the Belhar Music Collective who has graced the Artscape stage a number of times, the former street sweeper and opera singer James Bhemgee, Abe Landsberg from Somerset West and the Mamela Music School from Athlone.”

Other bands are Goedverwacht's local jazz band, Public Attention and Point of View from Vredenburg, and Simply Smooth from Riversdal. “It will be an ideal opportunity for holidaymakers to hear local jazz from the region on one central stage,” says Dietrich.

The community hasn't only produced summer produce in the form of tomatoes, watermelon, red onions and a number of lettuce varieties to be sold at the festival. There are home baked and fish and meat braai treats on sale, and in between there will be enough entertainment for the little ones.

“A lot of hard work went into getting camping sites prepared and clearing the area for easy access to the river for the warm weather ahead,” says Dietrich.

Initially the idea for a second festival came from friends of Dietrich's at SBF Consulting in Kuils River. “They've helped us obtain freezer facilities this year for our Snoek-festival and they are excited about the potential for increased income for our community. We'd like to attract about 5 000 people. It would be exciting to see what a difference a second festival would make to the earning potential of the community,” says Dietrich.

Tickets are available at Computicket at R80 per day for adults and R30 for children. A weekend pass is R120. The cost for the dance party in the evenings is R40 and a camping site for the weekend will cost R300. The gate access fee is not included.

For more information, contact tourism@goedverwacht.com or Sheena Julius on 078 316 3988, or Merle Dietrich on 083 252 7538.

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