It’s action all the way at Greyville Racecourse as the style magicians work around the clock to turn dull empty spaces into sumptuous lounges, parlours, dining halls and party venues for the 2016 Vodacom Durban July.
With just a day to go before Africa’s biggest and best horseracing event, the Functions for Africa team have only the finishing touches to make on the five venues they’ve decorated for the big day.
Director Paul Mann took time out for a quick Q and A:
1. How long have you been involved in the Vodacom Durban July?
We’ve been working for various clients at the Durban July since 2002.
2. How have you seen the event evolve?
Well, of course, the sponsor has changed dramatically, but it’s also attracting a much wider audience than before. The guests –especially in Tent Town -are a lot younger; it’s more sophisticated and also more corporate. And a lot more dressy.
3. What are this year’s hot décor trends at Greyville?
There’s more emphasis now on the cocktail lounge vibe, rather than the sit-down lunch. Glass, chrome, and clean, classic lines seem to be overtaking the more kitsch décor of days gone by. It’s definitely elegant rather than electric.
4. What have been some of your favourite clients/marquees at the July?
Definitely Mercedes Benz, the SABC and Bloom Marketing. But we love our new client this year, Bophelo Life Insurance, who have allowed us free reign to use our signature style – lots of white draping, beautiful fresh flowers and classic lines.
5. How would you interpret this year’s theme – Leader of the Pack?
Some people will go all out over the top on this one, but we prefer to keep it more subtle. For instance we’re only introducing it with vinyl stickers on the glass table tops at the Bophelo venue.
6. Have you ever had a major July disaster?
Not us personally, but we have been involved with some nasty weather issues …most will remember a few years back when Tent Town turned into Sludge City following heavy rains. And there was also one year when a gale force wind blew up in the afternoon and we all had to scramble to hold everything down. Some tents even blew away.
7. Finally, what is your hot tip for the Big Race?
I’m going with the grey filly Bela Bela and, on the fashion front, I strongly suggest that punters dress warmly, or they’ll have a very unpleasant day – baby, it’s going to be cold out there tomorrow!