Revived Knysna Arts Fest promises ‘Displays of Brilliance’

Great news: the Knysna Arts Festival returns to our town on 7 October! So head to to book your accommodation for this great event. The below release was issued by Knysna & Partners.

The revived Knysna Arts Festival will return to centre stage when it gets under way on the 7th of October this year.

Organiser Owen Roberts said that the event aims to reclaim the position it once held as one of the country’s premier participant-driven celebrations of both the fine arts and the performing arts.

“The Festival was started by one of Knysna’s best-known artists, Dale Elliott, in about 1995, and it quickly grew into a week-long event that showcased the work and the lifestyles of the town’s creative people – and of the creative people who loved to visit us.

“It petered out when Dale left to live elsewhere, but if anything, Knysna has attracted an even greater number of creative people in recent years – which gave us an important motivator for reviving and expanding the event.”

Mr. Roberts said that the Festival will be presented this year by Lew Geffen | Sotheby’s International Realty with the backing of Knysna & Partners (the new name for Knysna Tourism).


This year’s Knysna Arts Festival will feature a full programme of exhibitions, as well as demonstrations and classes, performances and lectures.

“The opening event – which will be hosted by the Knysna Arts Society – will take place on Wednesday the 7th of October at the Drydock Restaurant on the Knysna Waterfront, and will include an auction of especially selected, quality local art, with Lady Annabel Conyngham, as our auctioneer,” said Mr. Roberts. (Lady Conyngham is a former consultant auctioneer to a world-famous auction house.)

“This will be followed on Thursday with a gala evening in the amphitheatre of the Knysna Montessori School, where we’ll showcase excepts and highlights from events that will take place during the three-day Festival – and where Dale Elliott himself will deliver what promises to be a highly entertaining address.”

The visual arts spectrum of the Festival will feature more than fifty established local artists who will be exhibiting at forty different venues in Knysna – as well as at least seven artists from historically disadvantaged communities who will exhibit both at home and in the CBD.

The performing arts programme boasts a wide selection of theatre, music and dance, and will feature a number of performances fresh from this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, with works by Dianne Simpson, Ryan Dittman, Karen Logan, and Gerald Clark as well as a number of stagings of the acclaimed new South African musical, Ilizwei, by Ingrid Wylde and Vuyo Jack. (Set in the 1950s and 60s in Meadowlands and Soweto, Ilizwi is a love story told through the magnificence of jazz, and includes original new compositions by Zanika Mehta alongside favourite evergreens like the ever-popular ‘Meadowlands’.)

The Festival’s ‘Knysna Natter’ programme will include talks (the fracking debate), demonstrations (mask-making), a walking tour of the historic old quarter of the town, and a visit to the Knysna Estuary in the company of scientists from the Knysna Basin Project.


Knysna & Partners’ CEO Greg Vogt welcomed the announcement of the Festival programme, which is available on Sotheby’s International Realty’s web site (short URL:

Commenting on the Festival’s marketing slogan – ‘Displays of Brilliance’ – he said that the event will be “a showcase for the brilliance of our creative talent, of the natural beauty of our area, and of the Knysna lifestyle.”

He said that Knysna aims to extend the impact of the Knysna Arts Festival through its ‘Festival 365’ strategy, which seeks to ensure that local events benefit the people and the environment of the area throughout the year.

“This includes the development of a new art route centred around our heritage assets like the Old Gaol Museum Complex (where the Knysna Arts Society has its gallery), and private sector assets like Knysna Fine Art – which is one of South Africa’s leading commercial art galleries.”

Please visit for the complete programme, and follow the hashtag #ArtFestKnysna on Twitter for up-to-date news, reviews, comments, and information. The Knysna Arts Festival will run from 7-10 October, 2015.

Media release by Martin Hatchuel – 084 951 0574 –