Sporty festival revived

New name, same game
The Walvis Bay Festival, commonly known as the Walvisfees, has been revived and will now be known as the Standard Bank Desert Festival.
Leandrea Mouers
With Covid-19 seemingly something of the past, a variety of festivals are slowly coming back to life, one of which is the Standard Bank Desert Festival.

This year, the festival - which was previously known as the Walvis Bay Festival and accommodated the Hangana Hake Run and Ride last hosted in 2019 at the Jan Wilken Stadium - will be hosted by the Walvis Bay Private High School with the assistance of Standard Bank. The bank has contributed N$300 000 to this year’s festivities and N$100 000 to the Walvis Bay Road Runners club, which will be hosting the cycling and running events as part of the festival.

Speaking at the event launch, Anton van Rensburg, the senior commercial relationship manager for Standard Bank, said that the festival will also host a 21, 10, and 5-kilometer run hosted by the Road Runners club, as well as a 100 and 45-kilometer cycling event. “We are delighted by the concept of having people coming together being physically active while providing a platform for family and friends to spend time together while celebrating life, sport, music and of course food.”

Van Rensburg said that platforms such as the festival allow space for the growth of the sports industry on a competitive and social level. “We dedicate our contribution to the coastal community and foresee many events in the future that will positively empower the people. The festival provides opportunities for vendors and entrepreneurs alike to expose their products and services to the people, and for the sportsmen to hone their respective skills. At Standard Bank, we are aware of the important role physical activity plays in the formation of a holistically, healthy human being. Hence we’ve been actively involved in the sports industry, partnering with sports codes like rugby and hockey, especially at the school level - cementing the importance of sport at a young age. ”

Henry Kemp, the main organizer of the festival, pointed out that Standard Bank Desert Festival is not related to the Indongo Toyota Desert Sports Festival - also hosted by the school. “We are breathing new life into the ‘Walvisfees’, which is aimed at getting families together to enjoy a fun-filled day. We are looking at setting up stalls where local entrepreneurs can showcase their products – a traditional flea market. There will be a beer tent with musicians providing the entertainment for the day.”

He explained that the festival will kick off on 30 September, a Friday afternoon, at 13:00 and will continue until Saturday night. “Except for the various stalls on offer, on Saturday morning, the Road Runners Club will be hosting the run and cycle event. We are in talks with CrossFit here in Walvis Bay to host a CrossFit competition, and we are in final talks to also host a karate event like in the past. PartyKidz will also have a dedicated section for the children, so while mom and dad enjoy a well-deserved beer, the little ones can have some supervised fun.”

Kemp added that there is a strong possibility that the festival could also host an international hockey match. “Our Astro field will be complete by then, and this will be the first match on this new field. The Namibian Hockey Union is running point on this and it will be an immense honor to host our Namibian team at the coast. Our school hockey teams will also be in action, and there will also be some netball matches taking place on our new netball courts. We are very excited and hope that the weather plays along.”

Anyone who wishes to exhibit their products at the festival is welcome to contact the school for more information.