Festival Fever

The National Arts Festival.  Man. Even thinking about it makes me a bit leapy and excited.  I love it. Always have. The raw talent. The shite.  The motley crowds of arty, studenty, poncy, hippy, culturedy types.  The mix of classical and contemporary.  The jazz.  The dance. The comedy. The drama.  It’s my yearly treat to myself.


The getting here was a bit of a mission.  LB outdid himself by taking me, happily, to the airport at the crack of dawn….and buying me breakfast and helping me deal with the endless fekkin’ frustration that is traveling in South Africa.  One plane ride, a couple of hours to kill in the airport and a hair-raising drive to the sleepy town of Grahamstown got me from bed to there in just about 7 hours…I could have driven up in 9.  Oi.


But I was delighted with the surprise news that my mate Melon, who is hosting me with her amazing furry husband and delicious 2 year old son, has booked us to see Evan Dando.  Him of the Lemonheads fame.  Delicious boy, crooner, rock god. Yum. 



So, with that news, I was over the fekking shiteness that was getting up at 5am and then flying SAArse and enjoying a crisp, blue, gorgeous Eastern Cape day, with the prospect of a night on the town with some of my favourite people, seeing one of the seminal artists from my youff strum his stuff on the stage.  Yay.


And off we went.  Wrapped up in a million layers against a fah-fah-fah-ha-reeeeeezing Eastern Cape June night, we wandered down to the TapHuis, found seats and were told that there were actually 4 artists on for the night.  Bonus.  Syd Kitchen and Ray Phiri were on the lineup, including some outfit called Max Normal.


And Max Normal stole the show.  Hilarious Afrikaans rappers, using multimedia and dressed in the oddest collection of outfits, they took the piss out of everything in their “high energy hip hop show; in die huisie, julle”, but with a subtle, clever humour. I luuuuuuurved them.  Their collaboration with Sid Kitchen, at the end of their set, inspired by the soundtrack of Juno, was just beautiful.  Cheeky and sweet.


“That’s why we love the Dassie” is now officially my phrase de jour.


Dando was faintly disappointing.  Technically brilliant, with the soulful voice I remembered.  But absolutely not interested in engaging with the audience.  I could have just listened to a CD.  At one point the audience was actually calling for Ray Phiri to come out.  Ouch.  Though, to be fair, Phiri was his usual brilliant self.  We didn’t stay to the end…Dando was pissing us off…but SO much more than we’d expected and a brilliant start to my ’08 Fest.


There were hangovers. 


And today, through the pain, I watched Romeo and Juliet, an interpretive dance piece by a company I saw last year interpreting Macbeth.  That performance was powerful and mesmerizing.  This one, even more so.  I was blown away.  Set almost entirely to pieces by Vivaldi and Bach, it was emotional and breathtaking.  Dada Masilo, creator, lead and this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance, was in.cred.ib.le.  Every movement exploded out of her lithe, supple, toned body.  I was riveted.  Described in the programme as “a unique fusion of ballet and cotemporary techniques”, it was half raw, kinetic dance and half the fluid grace of ballet. Gorgeous.


And now I’m sitting in the kitchen of Melon and the Furry one, eating outrageously good home made soup and deciding what to watch tomorrow.  Before having a stupidly early night.





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8 thoughts on “Festival Fever

  1. kyknoord says:

    Just as well it’s so cold. It makes the hippies and their casual approach to foot hygiene tolerable.

  2. Rox says:

    Oh my sweet fuck I am jealous!! You had me at Evan Dando, lol, but then I see Max Normal TV… I’ve been a big fan of his for years, when he was first Max Normal, then as Waddy Tudor Jones.

    Plus I used to go to Grahamstown as a teenager, and while we usually only ever made it to the nearest bar and the rad club in the old powerhouse, those were some of the best times of my life.

    P.S. Kyk, as for those hippies, the fuckers used to try and charge us for DRIVING PAST the entrance to their camp site. Say not more, lol.

  3. egadfly says:

    Ooh, enjoy! I haven’t been to the G-spot Festival for years and years and years… I’m almost jealous, but am indulging in nostalgia instead.

  4. daisyfae says:

    sounds delicious. so, as part of your gratitude do you do cornrows down the back of the wookie for being such a genteel host?

  5. Dolce says:

    @ Kyknoord > Dude. Cold is just a thing. Dude. You can manifest your feet warm. Man, if you can’t, you’re clearly not, like, evolved.

    @ Rox > Seriously? Those Max Normal okes are hilarious. I WANT a Dassie. I’ve spent the whole fest trying to find one. Pffft.

    @ Egadfly > Aw, it’s so fab, fab, fab. Makes me feel all nostalgic too, minus the daily hangovers. I’m so old now, I could only manage one. But the hangover to show ratio seems to have shifted in large ways, which is great.

    @ Dais > *snort* The wookie is now actually being called Wookie, thanks to you. And he doesn’t have a hairy back, sadly, just a wild curley head of hair. And the biggest heart. We’ve spent an evening talking in Wookie (not as well as LB, who clearly did Wookie as a second language in school), which was fun. His wife had to google wookie. Clearly her excellent education was missing a minor but CRUCIAL detail! (Hi Melon!!!)

  6. 302 says:

    i have an it’s a shame about ray t-shirt somewhere, somewhere.

    they always hit our shores when it’s too late, i’m sure that t-shirt was a size S, now i’m a size M

    well lets hope he is good

  7. Dolce says:

    @ 302 > God, I hate it when clothes shrink in the wash. It really is annoying. And I’m gutted to say that I didn’t see ANY jazz – I’m useless – but was just too knackered to stay up late enough to see the really good stuff. Next year is going to be a jazz year!

  8. 302 says:

    HOw very nice of you the t-shirt stayed the same size but i shrunk in the wash and came out medium. And next year then – you and your goals.

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