Welcome to the McGregor Poetry Festival Blog. My name is Billy Kennedy and I am passionate about poetry. In June 2013 I spearheaded the first national McGregor Poetry Festival.

Why, you may ask, would anyone take on a festival dedicated to poetry in a tiny little town ‘on the road to nowhere’?

Firstly, our beautiful little village nestling between the Riviersonderend and Langeberg mountains is a poem in itself. It really does have the Zen distinction of ‘being on the road to nowhere’ and ‘the village where time stood still’. It is also often referred to as ‘mystical’ McGregor. It is simple, unspoilt and unique.

Far less conservative than our neighbouring towns, McGregor attracts interesting and colourful people many of whom are free spirited, tolerant and talented. You will doubtless enjoy meeting our friendly community and strolling along our country roads. All the venues for the festival are within walking distance from one another. They are intimate and gesellig – a perfect setting for enjoying the voices of our poets and for mingling with other lovers of poetry.

As a young child I loved poetry. I must have been four years of age when the gods smiled upon me and my beloved grandmothers lifted me onto their knees and began to recite Keats and Rupert Brooke and T S Eliot. Before I even grasped the meaning of the poems I had heard the music.

As I grew older I realised more and more that poetry matters. Now I believe it is as essential as air. Someone once wrote that much of the violence and psychological illness and unease in our society is probably due to poetry deprivation. I second that. Bigotry and prejudice contract the mind, and our world is full of it. Poetry resists contraction and expands the mind. It does not think in ways that limit and circumscribe its possibilities. It limbers up the imagination. It does for the mind what Yoga does for the body.

Poetry also gives a language to the heart and soul. Surely this is more vital now than ever before as we become more and more enmeshed in technology and information overload.

For all the above reasons the seed of a Poetry festival was planted. Thanks to a passionate, enthusiastic committee the young sapling is now flourishing.

Our first festival proved to be great success. It was most enthusiastically received by the poets themselves and the lovers of poetry who flocked to our little village. Tickets were sold nationally through Computicket and we enjoyed great media coverage and support. We were so delighted by the successful response of the first festival that our committee resolved to continue hosting it as an annual event. Our second festival took place in October 2014 and our third in August 2015.

The fourth festival planning is already underway and is scheduled to take place from the 26th to 28th of August 2016. Having a winter festival has proved to be very popular with folk who realise that starry skies and log fires and good red wine add to the warmth and intimacy of our very special get together. Last year, we initiated a mentorship programme called “Growing Poets”. The aim of this programme is to identify, mentor and support young poets in our valley.

We now have NPO status registered under the name of “McGregor Arts Community Project” (MACP). The number is 151-551 NPO. Our application for PBO status is also in process. Please take a moment to read our aims and objectives and contact us if you would like to assist us in any way.

Aims and Objectives of the Association:

  1. To foster an appreciation of visual, performing and literary arts in the Western Cape village of McGregor.
  2. To create a Project in which the arts are truly valued as a community asset.
  3. To use the arts as a means to bring about social integration and community upliftment.
  4. To foster the role of the arts as a contributor to the improvement of the quality of individual lives.
  5. To utilise the arts as an important vehicle for addressing relevant social issues within the community.
  6. To provide a platform that identifies, encourages and promotes artistic talent.
  7. To host regular Arts Festivals in McGregor which incorporate and bring together the entire community.
  8. To foster and support young talented artists and arts initiatives in the community.
  9. To support tourism and job opportunities linked to the Festivals.
  10. To encourage local residents to participate and develop their entrepreneurial skills.
You can support us making a donation to:

Account name: McGregor Arts Community Project

Bank: Standard Bank

Branch: Robertson

Branch Code: 051001

Account Number: 082349894

Swift Number: SBZAZAJJ

Reference: Your name

Confirmation of payment: info@mcgregorpoetryfestival.co.za

If you also have a passion for Poetry please consider coming on board as a sponsor or patron of our festival. Any ideas or support would be most welcome. For more information you can contact me billyk@lando.co.za or Jenny our coordinator info@mcgregorpoetryfestrival.co.za

I look very forward to hearing from you and meeting with you.

Come and grow poetry with us.