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Friday, August 11, 2017


A huge variety of individual, non-commercial, bespoke, original, hand-made and locally-sourced craft items will be available at the Hilton Arts Festival, running from September 15 to 17, 2017.

The festival endeavours to offer an overall all-encompassing festival experience – so not only is what happens inside the theatre venues a priority, but what happens outside the formal programme is important as well. To this end, the festival selection of art, crafts and food are being constantly reconsidered and repositioned to ensure a fresh new look every year.

“Our yard-stick was to create a craft platform to enable our visitors to do their entire Christmas and birthday shopping between shows,” explained Festival Director, Sue Clarence. “We wanted to offer gift ideas for the most fussy spinster aunt, boisterous toddler, bored teenager or eccentric grandpa!

“Our focus on craft this year means that we will have a Craft Marquee, called the Wild Garden, which will host up to 33 crafters. So, if you add the crafters to be in the marquee to those who operate on the festival lawns, it means that visitors will have close on 200 craft stalls to explore at the festival,” said Clarence.

“The idea is to create what we have dubbed as ‘pause areas’ in and around the festival - which are nodes of things to do in between festival shows: craft, food and places to relax. Due to abundance of visual artists we have at the festival this year, we have joined all three arts and craft tents for easier flow, and have included some foodies and a ‘pause area’ in-between.

“There is a larger variety of crafters than previous years: with stalls offering jewellery, African and Kashmir creative and decor products; wood decor and craft items; clothing; Christmas and teachers gifts; swimwear; shoes and bags; biltong; seeds; aloes, plants and plant products; ceramics; kids’ toys and the usual metalwork.

“We are applauding the loyalty of our regular crafters – with some of the craft-makers having attended more than 10 to12 festivals,” she said.

The festival will have art and craft tents alongside the Bell Tower which will be part of the free public spaces that festival-goers are invited to enjoy. There will also be a brand-new exhibition area in the Campbell building. The festival celebrates a quarter of a century sharing the best of South Africa’s magnificent art, theatre, music and so much more.

For more information visit or contact the Festival Office on 033 383 0127.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Blackstar Group, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC, Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel, Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA, Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun, Caxton