Chelsea Haith: Fireworks, a parade and half-price tickets saw the 39th National Arts Festival wrap-up a successful run on 6 and 7 July.
Highlights of the Festival were Karen Zoid and Dan Patlansky in Concert on 5 July, the ballet Hansel and Gretel by the Johannesburg Youth Ballet , The Amsterdam Ensemble’s performance of Mahler’s 4th symphony with Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award Winner, soprano Runette Botha, the late night Jazz and Blues Café at the Lowlander and Mary Sibande’s exhibition The Purple Shall Govern.
David Mann: This past Friday, DJ Va-Va played a set at The Monastery with fellow Cape Town DJs Pixel Pop and Half Life.
After a heavy set, Activate caught up with Va-Va to speak about everything from The National Arts Festival and social media to high school nicknames and Electronic Dance Music.
Chelsea Haith: Every year the National Arts Festival features as one of its main events hurricane force winds and rain that lashes you from the side. The Festival and Grahamstown are known for the rainy weather that had held off thus far in winter but which has now hit with a vengeance.
Festival-goers were not brought down by the rain and wind on 5 July. The Village Green tents filled with the shoppers who ordinarily wander the Great Field as the afternoon drew towards dark. The streets were filled with the same crowds, people moving between venues at a leisurely pace, seeming to enjoy the drizzle and camaraderie.
With the final weekend of the National Arts Festival ahead, the conversations have shifted from, “What will you be seeing?” to “What have you seen?” and “Did you enjoy fest?”
David Mann: If you’re into some good old fashioned bluesy rock ‘n roll, I mean the kind that’s played in low-lit rooms, where the air is smoky, the whiskey goes down smooth and the tunes even smoother, then you have to see Jet Black Camaro.
Activate took some time to look under the hood of this fine-tuned blues machine to find out what makes it run.
Chelsea Haith: Karen Zoid’s first performance of the National Arts Festival in the Smirnoff Music Room was plunged in darkness when the power cut out on Prince Alfred Street on 4 July at 18.00.
Despite the setback, she kept going, playing the full hour of music and demanding that the audience be refunded the cost of the tickets. “I will personally phone Tony Lankester in the morning and ask that all of the people in this room be refunded the cost of their tickets,” Zoid said.
It’s hard to believe such extraordinary talent and such a powerful voice comes from the shy man on stage. Redpath seems confident in his music, but not in himself.
Chelsea Haith: Contemporary Music: Dan Patlansky performed on 2 July at The Lowlander to a venue packed wall to wall, several spectators seated on the floor in front of the stage due to a lack of seating and standing space. The crowd demanded more and the clamour for CDs after his performance was a pressing crush.
David Mann: Taking place at the Lowlander, acclaimed indie/folk artist Lucy Kruger played an intimate and enjoyable set to the people of Grahamstown this past Sunday.
Half an hour before the show, the line to get into the Lowlander was already reaching around the side of the building, with many eager fans keen to get into the low lit, cosy venue for a night of good music.