Up close and personal: City Soiree gigs bring live music home

With City Soiree, Cape Town music lovers pick and choose to see their favourite bands perform in unique venues, or even in their own homes.

It’s easy to see why City Soirée has taken Cape Town by storm. This innovative venture gives you, the music lover, a chance to call the shots and make your selected music event come to life.

Every performance starts out as a campaign, targeting a certain number of fans to ensure that the event can actually take place by encouraging people to pledge.

Pledging means that you pre-buy a ticket to the event – and once the target amount of pre-purchased tickets is sold, the event goes ahead! If, for some reason, the event does not reach its target number of fans, all pledges are refunded in full. It’s a novel way for music lovers to make their own events happen.

Tickets are conveniently emailed to buyers upon purchase, so all you have to do is bring your e-ticket to the performance venue for verification.

An equally appealing offshoot of the City Soiree collective is Cape Town’s more exclusive Secret Soirée, that lets artists and fan connect on a much more personal level. Here, performances can even take place in private living rooms.

However, the popularity of this personal event means that Secret Soirees are capped at thirty people per event to maintain the intimate aesthetic

Where to dance to the beat of African drums

As cosmopolitan as Cape Town is, with its proliferation of shopping malls and trendy cafés, it is most definitely still part of Africa – and home to stimulating ethnic African music. Here’s where to get into the rhythm.

In the heart of Long Street, itself an essential part of any South African adventure, Mama Africa offers a vibrant and authentic African experience that is made all the more magical through music. Every night a live marimba band takes to the stage and rocks the restaurant with a variety of musical stylings till late into the night.

With a wide range of eclectic dishes and lively African entertainment, Marco’s African Place is where the rest of the world meets Africa. Conveniently situated a stone’s throw from Cape Town’s Fan Walk, Marco’s will greet you in true African style for an evening you won’t forget.

Only 20 minutes from the centre of Cape Town lies the township of Gugulethu. Here, the Thuthuka Jazz Café offers visitors a night filled with authentic local flavour, with world-class jazz mixed with traditional musical elements. Here you can expect a truly South African experience.

Based in the Cape Town Convention Centre, the Marimba Restaurant often features live music from bands that include some of the finest Congolese, Mozambican and South African musicians.

For an experience that will definitely stand out on your travels, Gold Restaurant in Green Point combines spontaneous, interactive entertainment with a delightful cross-section of African-themed food. Food is served as a set menu, but includes 14 different courses (tapas style), which means that your taste buds will almost certainly meet delicacies they have never met before. With three different performances throughout the course of the evening, this is one entertaining experience!

Where to party in Cape Town’s southern suburbs

Only 15 minutes drive from Cape Town’s city centre, the leafy suburb of Claremont is the nightlife centre of the area known as the Southern Suburbs. When night falls, the predominantly student population comes out to party!

Main Road is the long, primary arterial road leading out of Cape Town central towards the False Bay coast. The Claremont section of this road houses a complex known as Stadium On Main. Inside you’ll find Tin Roof, the perfect place to let your hair down and dance up a storm. The music varies from old school hip hop to classic rock and the dress code is smart casual. A bonus is that there is no cover charge, which fits the budget of the many students and young adults who make this their local.

With a host of cool events, including the odd wet T-shirt competition, Tiger Tiger is one of the more lively clubs in the area. Also in Stadium on Main, but upstairs from Tin Roof, the music here is more of a commercial dance variety. Entrance fee is R50 (but free before 21h30) and age restriction is 18 on Thursday nights but 21 otherwise. Dress code is smart. This is a great club to meet singles and get down on the dance floor.

A decent option if you’re not looking for a “club” is the local Stones. Part of a Cape Town chain, these are non-sleazy pool bars where young people gather to play pool or foosball, chat and sometimes dance to whatever’s on offer. The music here is old school commercial during the day and changes to commercial house at night, depending on the crowd.

Last but not least, Oblivion is a European style wine bar and restaurant located in Chichester Street, Claremont. There is no entrance fee and this club attracts a slightly older age group around 25 to 35. The music varies from pop to commercial. This is great for a crazy night of dancing on tables and the multi-coloured dance floor.

Where to party in Cape Town’s northern suburbs

After spending the day exploring the impressive Durbanville wine farms near Cape Town, head over to Bellville and Edward Street in the northern suburbs, grab a refreshing cocktail and hit the dancefloor.

Offering an opportunity to party every night from Monday to Saturday, Vacca Matta features DJs playing rhythm’n’blues, hip- hop and house music. The venue club boasts about their energetic, attractive bar staff and unmatched atmosphere.

Buckley’s Pub & Pool Bar features a playlist of metal, rock and commercial music as the soundtrack to your night of hustling friends over a pool table, trying your luck on the slot machines. They sometimes also have event nights. There is no dress code and the only requirement is that you have a good time.

Stones Tygervalley hosts live music, comedians and DJs on a weekly basis. Expect to hear an array of house, rock and commercial music across two dancefloors. Shoot some pool, recline on comfy couches in their lounge area and sing along to your favourite hits with your friends. Stones features daily drinks specials as well as both ladies and student nights. The establishment prides itself on the friendly and efficient service of its staff. There is a minimal cover charge with an age restriction of 18 and older.

If you’re looking for a truly South African Afrikaans experience head over to Danskraal. Touted as the best and only langarm (traditional “long arm” dancing, similar to square dancing) dance party, this venue will allow you to experience a style of dancing unique to the Afrikaans culture. The dance style is reminiscent of more casual, interpretive ballroom dancing and is worth experiencing at least once.

Where to party in Sea Point

Sea Point, Green Point and the surrounding areas are well known for their popularity amongst visitors to Cape Town. Accommodation is of a high standard and appeals to a range of budgets. Add to this the fact that you don’t have to travel into the city centre in order to go clubbing, and your choice of destination could not be more ideal.

On the main road of Sea Point a brightly lit doorway welcomes you to the underground dance club DecoDance. If you’re looking for a diverse crowd of all age groups dancing and singing along to hits from the ‘60s, ’70s and ’80s, then this is the place for you. The venue, which often hosts bachelorette and birthday parties as well, has both a smoking and non-smoking dancefloor.

Nestled above Mano’s restaurant on Green Point’s Main Road, Jade Champagne Bar & Lounge is an upmarket, more discerning club with a strict age restriction of 23. There is no cover charge, but there is a semi-formal dress code and access is at the discretion of the door staff. The music on offer is an array of r’n’b, hip-hop, nu disco, house and funk, depending on the night.

On the outskirts of the city in the De Waterkant district, the gay community reigns supreme. Whether you are straight or gay, Crew Bar, Beaulah Bar and a whole host of other venues will offer you a night of decadence, good-looking shirtless barmen and a playlist of commercial electronic dance music, house and disco.

Why Cape Town gets the blues…

Musically speaking, the blues may not seem a natural fit for beautiful, bouncy Cape Town, but local blues expert Mike Combrinck explains why this myth should be laid to rest once and for all.

In days gone by you might have struggled to find a blues gig in Cape Town – but we’re happy to report that over the last few years, the blues has been flourishing. A major contributor to this is the introduction of the annual Table Mountain Blues Summit in 2006. Rated as one of the best blues festivals in Africa, this is a gathering of the finest blues musicians the country has to offer.

While there is no Cape Town music venue dedicated exclusively to blues, there are a number of regular blues events around the city, and certain venues occasionally feature musicians known for their skill in this genre.

Twice a month the centrally-located Mercury Live hosts an event fondly known as Bluestown. This well-attended event happens on the second and the last Thursday of every month. It features a different house band each time, with a rotating array of popular guests, usually on guitar and/or vocals.

In Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Die Boer hosts Blue Tuesday every week, also a collaborative affair with many guests.

There is always a blues event happening somewhere. Other music venues to keep an eye on are Bertie’s Moorings, The Hillcrest Quarry, The Cape Farmhouse, Café Roux and Alma Café.

A popular monthly gig that calls itself “Blues Meets Rock” is hosted, alternately, by either Boulevard Blues (blues) or Pebbleman (blues/rock). It is usually a rocking great affair during which they share the stage.

If you’re a fan of the blues and would like to know what is happening around Cape Town, then tune your internet radio to Zone Radio at 6pm on a Monday evening for a three-hour blues treat featuring local and overseas artists. One thing is for sure, Cape Town blues are here to stay.

Why the world loves Cape Town’s International Jazz Festival

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival the jazz jewel in Cape Town’s event crown, where lovers of music unite for two days of pure inspiration and enthusiastic celebration.

Each year thousands of people from every corner of the globe travel to Cape Town on the last weekend or March or the first weekend of April to experience the cream of the world’s jazz crop at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Over the years the festival has expanded to include other musical genres such as pop, progressive, electronica, hip hop and R&B – but the focus remains on the jazz greats. With five stages spread in and around the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the festival sees some 35 000 music enthusiasts through its doors over two days.

The festival also hosts various training and development initiatives for aspiring musicians, photographers, entertainment journalists and more, such as the Masterclasses with top musicians playing at the festival, the DuoTone Photographic Exhibition (which showcases a range of live photography from amateurs and professionals), Fashion & All That Jazz Gala Dinner (which celebrates emerging South African fashion designers) and a Golf Day, amongst others.

But perhaps the most exciting spin-off event is the Free Concert held each year on the famed Greenmarket Square in the city centre., some of the festival’s performing artists perform a free concert here and make it possible for those not fortunate enough to purchase tickets in time to join in the celebrations of one of Cape Town’s most beloved events.

If you’re in Cape Town in the week running up to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, be sure to stop in at one of these freestyle jazz jams

World music comes to the Mother City for the Cape Town Nu World festival

The Cape Town Nu World festival is a true world music festival that takes place each July in the historic Cape Town City Hall in the city centre. It draws acts from more than 10 countries and plenty from within South Africa’s borders. Organiser Ma’or Harris explains why this festival is so unique.

The wide range of music and acts at the Cape Town Nu World Festival is something you would not normally see at other festivals.

We like to give relatively unknown acts (local and international) a big stage with top quality sound, based on the merit of their quality, not their fame. The most satisfying element of organising the Cape Town Nu World Festival is the buzz in the air while the event is happening, as well as the excitement on festival goers’ faces while they are experiencing something new.

Personally, I also enjoy the contact with the artists. It feels like we are all working together towards a common goal – the goal of escalating the music that deserves it the most.

The Cape Town Nu World Festival strives to provide a platform to showcase and show-off South African music. Because the full scope of South African music is often not heard or experienced enough in the city. The festival is a platform to show off our identity and to make us proud – an alternative to the predominantly Eurocentric festivals and shows in Cape Town.

It’s really all about decurifying, exposing, and making people dance.

Your Cape Town Weekend: 19 – 21 February 2016

This weekend, Cape Town is jam-packed with beach parties, design events, stage performances and more. We help you plan Your Cape Town Weekend.

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Summer isn’t over yet – far from it. Celebrate the sun with plenty of dancing at this one-day beach festival. Headline act is international duo The Golden Pony, supported by top South African house and techno artists. Read more

Food and drink: Wine-tasting at Rupert & Rothschild Estate

Travel the world by wine. Taste vintages from six different countries at Rupert & Rothschild Estate, just an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the beautiful Franschhoek valley. Complete the taste experience by pairing with taster portions created especially for these fine wines –  after all, Franschhoek is known as South Africa’s “Gourmet Capital”. Read more to find out why this is one of local foodie Abigail Donnelly’s favourite tastings.

Live music: Jack Liebeck and Amandine Savary

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Nightlife: Beatenberg and the Kyle Peterson Jazz Trio

Grab the rare opportunity to see Indie and jazz at this double-bill concert at the Artscape Theatre. Mingle with the Design Indaba Festival attendees, who will be at Artscape for the first time this year following the festival’s move from the Cape Town International Convention Centre. But you don’t have to be a Design Indaba Festival attendee to go to this concert; tickets are open to all. Read more

Sport: BEAR Rally and Expo

Watch motorbikes go crazy in the Swellendam countryside for the first British, European and American Racing (BEAR) rally and expo. The town is two and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town’s city centre but worth the trip for its beauty, heritage sites and Cape Dutch architecture. And the motorbikes, of course. Read more

Talks and Expos: Cape Town International Animation Festival

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Theatre: Sweeny Todd (opening night)

Get the fright of your life at the opening night of Pieter Torien’s Sweeny Todd – the infamous thriller about a demon barber. This is one of the only musicals which is also a thriller, and was recently made famous by the Tim Burton film version starring Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp.  Read more