When the Platteland Preview was struggling to get off the ground, British journalist and writer, Martin Plaut came to the rescue: with a generous donation he helped the festival organisers pay for a performance that was specially staged for local school children.
He was also one of many backers who contributed to the festival's Thundafund efforts earlier this year, to raise funds to stage the 2015 Platteland Preview.
Not many Smithfield people may know this, but Martin also wrote about our festival in one of his popular, internationally-read blogs. Writing about South Africa in September last year he discussed why there was continued concern about the future of South Africa. Next day, by contrast, he listed five reasons for people to have hope in this country. Among those five reasons was our inherent optimism and that "South Africa is lekker". And he mentioned the festival in Smithfield as proof of this!
"There is hardly a week without a festival or participatory sporting event of some kind. From the mighty Grahamstown Festival to the tiny Smithfield Platteland Preview. From the Comrades Marathon to the Platteklip Challenge. Who can doubt that we know how to have a great time? It is a major draw card for tourists and helps keep us all cheerfull."
Though Martin is a regular visitor to South Africa he couldn't be here for the festival. But he found time to send a message of support: “Very sorry I can’t make the festival this year. Sounds like a wonderful event as always. Have a great time. Martin”