There are many good reasons to stay close to the city this weekend, not least of which is the rather alluring prospect of avoiding the Easter rush as the the school holidays arrive and families hotfoot it out of town.
Jo’burg and Cape Town
In Jo’burg at New Market Racecourse (Friday March 21) and Cape Town at Kenilworth Racecourse (Monday March 24), My Cokefest offers a chance to rock out to some of the biggest names around.
Headlining the festival are noisemeisters Korn, whose phenomenal music videos ensured their commercial success and made their brand of industrial metal palatable to the MTV generation, spawning myriad nu-metal clones. The phenomenal British trio Muse will also be there alongside actor Jared Leto’s emo-tinged 30 Seconds to Mars, punk/pop pretty boys Good Charlotte, ex-Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell and neo-Britpop pin-ups Kaiser Chiefs.
Local acts include Prime Circle, Lonehill Estate, Crash Car Burn and Wonderboom at the Jo’burg show and the Van Coke Cartel and the Shy Guevaras in Cape Town. Tickets are available through www.mycokefest2008.co.za. Tickets start at R330 and audiences are advised to get there early.
In Cape Town, at Distrix Café in Upper Darling Street, check out the range of virtuosic musicians that fill out the line-up at the African Space Program. How does a maverick cultural magazine celebrate the launch of its latest dose of pan-African politiks and kultcha? Well, if you’re Chimurenga magazine, then you fire up your African science-fiction double issue, Dr Satan’s Echo Chamber, by hosting a massive party on Human Rights Day.
‘We called it African Space Program after the man who runs the school of sevens next door,” says editor, writer and DJ Ntone Edjabe.
It’s a more than apt billing that pays tribute to M7 patron, jazz pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim’s seminal 1973 New York big band session by gathering together an impressive cast of pan-African musical ‘afronauts” for an all-improvised session of sound and visuals.
Saxophonists Robbie Jansen, Moreira Chonguica and Buddy Wells team up with powerhouse drummer Kesivan ‘the animal” Naidoo, Freshlyground violinist Kyla Rose Smith, bassist Helder Gonzaga, ragga toastmaster Teba ‘the original social worker”, percussionist Tony Paco and Y-generation’s General S’bu to improvise a conceptual DJ set specially curated by the Fong Kong Bantu Soundsystem and singer-songwriter Neo Muyanga. Added attractions include a performance by Jazzart Dance Theatre and visuals by writer Stacy Hardy.
While such a diverse line-up makes it almost impossible to predict exactly what to expect, an echo of what to look forward to can be found in Downbeat magazine’s assessment of Dollar Brand’s (as Ibrhaim was known back then) African Space Program as ‘unique pan-cultural music. This passionate, at times violent, music is uncompromisingly personal, deeply felt and marked by complete musical integrity.” Starts at 8pm. Admission is R30. Website: www.chimurenga.co.za.
Those for whom a long weekend means getting away from the smog and chaos of the city for a few days of chilling out in the mountains are in for a treat. Splashy Fen, South Africa’s longest-running music festival, and one of its most prominent and popular ones, once again makes the hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg come alive with the sound of music over the Easter weekend.
The featured artist this year is South African folk icon Miriam Backhouse, while other highlights include Captain Stu, the Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters, Black Cat Bone, We Stole Snowy, Aidan Cornhill, Sheep Down, Japan and I, the City Bowl Mizers, Crossingpoint, Syd Kitchen, Dan Patlansky, Spitmunky, Goldfish, the Pretty Blue Guns, Your Name in Neon, Fire Through the Window, Gonzo Republic, Habit To, Voodoo Child, Napalma, Cabins in the Forest, Guy Buttery, Josie Field, the Arrows, the Rudimentals, Southern Gypsey Queen, Tree63, Go! Go! Bronco, Liesl Graham, the Meditators, the Underberg Zulu Dancers, Udumo Gospel Choir, Avatar, New Loud Rockets, kidofdoom and many more.
And don’t let the rural setting put you off. Hot showers, ATMs and other creature comforts will all be available to put city slickers at ease. A word of warning though: nights are pretty frosty, so make sure you take warm clothing or someone worth snuggling up to (or find someone there).
Tickets for the entire weekend are available in advance at Game for R300, at Computicket for R350 and at the gate for R400. Those arriving on Saturday pay R285 and on Sunday R150. Visit www.splashyfen.co.za for more.