Craft marquee for Hilton festival

A larger variety of crafters than previous years is expected at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival.

A HUGE variety of individual, non-commercial, bespoke, original, hand-made and locally sourced craft items will be available at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival, which runs in the picturesque grounds of Hilton College from September 15 to 17.

The festival strives to offer an all-encompassing festival experience – so not only is what happens inside the theatre venues a priority, but what happens outside the formal programme is important as well. To this end, the festival selection of art, crafts and food are being constantly reconsidered and repositioned to ensure a fresh new look every year.

“Our yard-stick was to create a craft platform to enable our visitors to do their entire Christmas and birthday shopping between shows,” explains festival director Sue Clarence. “We wanted to offer gift ideas for the most fussy spinster aunt, boisterous toddler, bored teenager or eccentric grandpa!”

She adds: “Our focus on craft this year means that we will have a Craft Marquee, called the Wild Garden, which will host up to 33 crafters.  So if you add the crafters in the marquee to those who operate on the festival lawns, it means visitors will have close on 200 craft stalls to explore at the festival.

The craft aspect of the Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College always provides the perfect opportunity for some early Christmas shopping.

“The idea is to create what we have dubbed as ‘pause areas’ in and around the festival – nodes of things to do in between festival shows: craft, food and places to relax.

“Due to an abundance of visual artists that we have at the festival this year, we have joined all three arts and craft tents for easier flow, and have included some foodies and a ‘pause area’ in-between.

“There is a larger variety of crafters than previous years:  with stalls offering jewellery, African and Kashmir creative and decor products; wood decor and craft items; clothing; Christmas and teachers’ gifts; swimwear; shoes and bags; biltong; seeds; aloes, plants and plant products; ceramics; kids toys and usual metalwork.

“We are applauding the loyalty of our regular crafters – with some of the craft-makers having attended in excess of 10 to 12 festivals,” adds Clarence.

The festival will have art and craft tents alongside the Bell Tower which will be part of the free public spaces that festival-goers are invited to enjoy. There will also be a new exhibition area in the Campbell building.

The festival celebrates a quarter of a century sharing the best of South Africa’s magnificent art, theatre, music and so much more.

For more information visit or contact 033 383 0127.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Blackstar Group, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC,  Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel,  Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA,  Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun and Caxton.

Craft stalls and art at a previous Hilton Arts Festival.


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