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Winelands Festival Toasts Workers

More than 5000 Cape music enthusiasts joined over 100 uniquely South African performers including Mango Groove, Emo Adams and Die Heuwels Fantasties and a host of home-grown performers at this year’s sixth annual ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees. The annual event, which takes place in association with the ATKV (Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging), took place at the Solms-Delta wine estate on Saturday 23 March.

An event like few others on the South African cultural calendar, the Oesfees brings together farm workers and farm owners from the valley to kuier and vastrap, celebrating their hard work and the Cape’s rich cultural heritage with traditional Boland rural music and kaapsekos. Since 2008, Solms-Delta and the ATKV have taken the traditional harvest celebration to the next level, growing it from a small event to a full house with big name performers, which all music lovers can attend and enjoy. Last year, the festival was sold out by mid-day with 5000 in attendance.
“The ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees is first and foremost a celebration for those who work year round in the vineyards and cellars,” said Mark Solms of Solms-Delta. “Free tickets are given to farm workers from all the surrounding Franschhoek wine-farms and they are joined not only by the farm workers, but by many other locals and visitors.  The music leaps between generations and genres – brass bands, Afrikaans folk, vastrap, langarm, hip hop and jazz and while some of the performer are headliners with big credits to their names, many of the performers are amateurs with day jobs on the Franschhoek farms.”
The ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees is also a showcase for the Music van de Caab project run by Adriaan Brand of Springbok Nude Girls and an important aspect of this festival are performances by Solms-Delta’s very own home-grown bands amongst all the top talent.  The project seeks to preserve and develop the diverse musical heritage of the rural Cape, including the fostering of local musical talent. The Solms-Delta music acts range from the Klein-Handjies pre-school choir and “Kaapse Klopse” style walking band to a top wind and percussion band, Langbroeke, with female choir ensemble, Soetstemme. Also performing on their own turf will be the Delta Valley Entertainers, Delta Vastrap Genootskap and Lekker Lekker Delta.
Solms said he feels it is important to show appreciation to the workers of our country. “This acknowledgement is the spark that ignited the Oesfees six years ago, and music the catalyst for uniting people of all backgrounds in this day of celebration. Anyone with heart and soul cannot help but be moved by the outstanding and authentic music, rich cultural heritage and spirit of togetherness that pervade the Valley during the Oesfees,” said Solms.
Glenwood farm had even more cause to celebrate and dance at this year’s Oesfees when one of their workers won the prestigious 2013 Franschhoek Farm Worker of the Year Award for his hard work and commitment to community development initiatives. The Franschhoek Wine Valley, along with its wine members, initiated this award in 2010, to give recognition to their farm workers, all who have dedicated many years to this very successful wine producing area.

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