As the veteran of 4 Aardklop festivals, and the only Afrikaans journalist on the editorial team, I figured it’d be worth writing the ultimate Aardklop survival guide aimed at first timers and veterans alike. You might want to cable tie your trousers because this is going to be an exciting ride.
There are two sides to Aardklop. There is the varsity party vibe and the artsy Afrikaans folks clique. I’ll delve into both of these as they are equally entertaining… the one is just more inebriated than the other. The one thing you should know about Aardklop is that the entire Potchefstroom turns into the festival grounds of this long-running arts festival. Different restaurants and school halls turn into theatres, and entire streets are blocked off to make way for beer tents and general debauchery.
Where To Stop On Your Way To Aardklop
On the way you will be driving through the world’s introduction to the great North Western province. Welcome to coal mining country. In between open patches of dry land, you will find hamlets of civilisation scattered throughout your trip to Aardklop. Add a couple of hours to your travel time and stop over at some of these interesting spots.
Marked as a UNESCO heritage site as well as the largest crater on earth, the Vredefort dome can be seen from space. Joburgers travelling from the south of the city will have the opportunity to take a detour through Parys and check out this magnificent place. Go for a walk through the reserve and appreciate the hills and valleys created by such a destructive force.
At the risk of sounding trite… we’re not talking about Paris in France but the one in the Free State. Yup, it’s a roundabout route to take to Potchefstroom but so worth it. This little town is filled with quirky art galleries, coffee shops, and pubs. Explore a bit and check out the art deco architecture that decorates that side of the world. The town is situated along the Vaal River and there are quite a few picnic spots to take advantage of. Parys is also a popular destination for weekend bikers who enjoy riding through from Joburg and Pretoria for brunch.
Where To Stay At Aardklop
My aunt has a friend who’s named Saartjie Scholtz. Now, Saartjie runs Oudewerf Guest House on Oudebrug Street. Enjoy the open space and fresh air coupled with tranquillity and smothered in hospitality. Oudewerf is a popular stay-over for parents visiting their children at varsity and Aardklop festival goers alike. The rooms run colonial and Victorian themes and make for an excellent and cool retreat after your day out in this pretty dorp. Note that bookings should be done way in advance as Oudewerf is a popular accommodation space – especially during festival time.
Michael-Angelo Guest house
This self proclaimed double storey “grand dame” is situated a stone’s throw away from the main festival grounds, giving you an excuse to party up a storm without having to worry about travelling (besides, try and cut out driving as much as possible during Aardklop because traffic moves the entire town to a halt). The Michael-Angelo Guest House boasts a pool to relax in, beautifully made up rooms fit for royalty, and excellent service all round. The venue is also a great spot to host intimate weddings or special gatherings.
What To Enjoy At Aardklop
You can not end the festival without getting… festive. Under the quiet shade of giant trees, a long table is tastefully decorated, while serving a delicious five-course meal. The price includes beverages. Bring your family and friends and come and experience something special in true Aardklop style.
Strauss & Co Art Valuation Panel
Are you a budding artist or own artworks that may be worth a small fortune? Have them valued at the Strauss & Co Art Valuation. This once-off event will take place on Tuesday, 02 October 2018 from 09:00 to 16:00 at the NWU Art Gallery. Bring your artwork along; who knows, maybe you’re sitting on a R600 000 Pierneef!
Follow this fiery family feud that starts at grandma’s birthday party and ends with a household divided. Reknowned South African actors Sandra Prinsloo, Andre Odendaal and Sandi Schultz potray a tale inspired by Arthur Miller ‘s All My Sons.
There is of course much, much, much more than this to the beautiful beast known as Aardklop but this is for newcomers to cut their teeth on the good stuff from the get-go. For more information, head over to the Aardklop website for a completed list of activities. There will also be book launches, art exhibitions and live music all over the show.
By Shawn Greyling