The best of electronic dance music in Cape Town

Over the last few years electronic dance music events have exploded in Cape Town. Manager and events booker Dominique Gawlowski breaks down which venues best showcase EDM.

It’s astonishing how much electronic dance music is growing and developing when you take into consideration our geographical and economic disadvantages. Despite these we are still finding ways to bring international artists to Cape Town, as well as seeing more and more European and American tours by South African artists. Ten years ago these things just didn’t happen.

Currently we have a number of electronic music festivals, such as the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, Grietfest, Sonar, Ultra, Resonance and Earthdance. There’s also a rise in the number of successful genre-based boutique music festivals catering to the electronic dance music EDM audiences, such as Wolfkop, Twilight, We Love Summer and Tropical Roast. That’s a pretty impressive amount when you factor in the limited demographics of people who are able to afford these events and generally be interested in electronic dance music.

When my overseas friends come to visit Cape Town I give them three names: The Assembly, Fiction and Era. I know these are no big secrets, but they truly are where you should go to see and hear real quality.

All three have their completely separate charms. Fiction has hosted literally the biggest names in the world such as Skrillex, Boysnoize, Pendulum, DJ Fresh, Friction, Cyantific and more, yet only has a dance floor for 250 people.

Era is a club that is completely on par with the best of the best by international standards. It’s a basement techno and house club that has immaculate attention to detail, to-die-for sound and a general good vibe.

The Assembly is a monument to achievement in bringing a quality space for international and local stars to come and play. Its size alone makes it a sought-after venue for any travelling act, as does its attention to quality audio, stage production and never compromising on always rewarding their audiences with a good show. This is simply not possible in the smaller venues. No matter what your taste in electronic dance music is you’ll find it in one of those three venues.

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