National Arts Festival 2016: your essential internet pocket guide for conquering Fest

national arts festival

It’s a big week for the Eastern Cape and South African performing arts in general.

Today, the 42nd National Arts Festival kicks off in Grahamstown, running for 11 days until 10 July 2016. This year’s soiree promises to be one of the most heavily-attended Fests in years. But while that’s a blessing for the organisers and the quaint city of Grahamstown, it makes following the happenings of Fest a bit of a nightmare. But not to worry — the good ol’ internet is here to help.

Below, we take a look at some of the ways you can keep abreast of all the events, news and reviews from the National Arts Festival itself or at home using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Download the apps

Affectionately known as Fest by attendees, The National Arts Festival has an official app available for iOS and Android, which lists the available shows, details about each show and general festival news. It also allows users to purchase tickets, and navigate what can be a fairly confusing city.

We’ll talk about navigation and other essentials a little later, but if all else fails, visiting the official website is always a great place to start.

Follow along on social media

For Facebook lovers, the National Arts Festival also has an official Facebook page listing a few more abstract things, like sunrises, general photo essays and reaction from on the ground. The National Arts Festival’s Twitter account is also a great way to follow Fest from a distance, and the hashtag #NAF16 can be used across social networks.

Non-official hashtags include #nationalartsfestival2016, #NAF2016 and simply #Grahamstown for more general city-wide news.

Related: The Pretty Cities of Instagram: 10 great snaps of Grahamstown

The festival also has an official Instagram account, and lesser-updated YouTube account.

And if you really want to be kept up to date, follow the Memeburn-staff curated NAF Grahamstown 2016 Twitter list.

Catch the news and weather

Grocott’s Mail is the oldest newspaper in South Africa and one closest to the ground in Grahamstown. Its site and Facebook page are great ways to keep up with the city’s news.

Festival news is taken care of by online newspaper Cue. The site’s managed by students at Rhodes University’s journalism department, and its slew of social accounts can also be found and followed from the foot of its home page.

Additionally, for weather forecasts, there are a slew of apps available. Our favourites include AccuWeather (Android, iOS and Windows 10) and Wunderground (Android and iOS).

For the web, and are two fairly reliable, swift and aesthetically-pleasing sources.

Other essential information

If you navigating through an unfamiliar Grahamstown but running low on data, this little Google Maps trick will let you download a portion of the map to your device. This allows users to browse through said portions of the map sans data connection.

Are you looking for Grahamstown on Google Maps? You can find it right here.

If you’re really stuck in the dark, Grahamstown Mobile App for Android developed by AppyTown is a suitable back-pocket guide for those seriously-lost few.

Additionally, if you forgot to book accommodation or if you’re heading to Fest for an impromptu and ill-calculated holiday, AirBnB has a few listings on its Grahamstown portal (available on Android and iOS). Eateries can be found using Zomato (available on Android, iOS and Windows 10) as well, while a full list of essential travel apps can be found over on Gearburn here.

If you’ve spotted an awesome app, useful website or essential resource you use for following Fest, let us know in the comments section below.

Feature image: Helena Fagan via National Arts Festival

Andy Walker, former editor


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