In the marquee tent. That’s the place to be on the weekend of the DStv Franschhoek Bastille Festival, says Reinher Behrens, chief executive officer of the Franschhoek tourism authority.
Why have a Bastille Festival in Franschhoek?
It’s a celebration of our French culture and history. A whole lot of French Huguenots came and established themselves here when this place was still known as Olifantshoek – there’s evidence that there were once elephants here. One thing is certain, a lot has changed since that time, just the mountains have stayed the same. Naturally, the French are known around the world for their food and wine, so the festival goes hand-in-hand with the valley’s delicious food and wine. And the French’s Bastille Day is about their celebration of their freedom. And here in Franschhoek we have a lot of freedom.
How has the festival changed over the years?
This is our 24th festival. Next year we’ll be celebrating a quarter century. Eleven years ago, there were only 175 people on the Saturday and 210 who attended the festival on the Sunday. According to estimates, there were between 20 000 and 30 000 people over the two days at the festival last year.
Where will we find you over the festival?
In the marquee tent, of course. It’s going to be set up next to the Huguenot Monument. There’s a lot that happens in town, everyone wants to be part of it, but eventually everyone ends up in the tent. There’s no separate section for VIPs because it’s Bastille Day, everyone is a VIP. – Alet Wichmann