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A festival where the family’s welcome

It’s been six consecutive years that I haven’t missed the White Mountain Festival. From the very first year this small but fabulous festival grew on my heart like a woolly moss you might find growing in the mountainous area.

Originally started in 2006 as an alternative for the more sedate Splashy Fen fans, and organised by the same group, C-Weed Productions, White Mountain, situated at White Mountain Lodge just outside Estcourt, was intended to cater for families and folk fans.

Word spread almost immediately after the first festival and soon it was attracting a healthy crowd of around 2000 music-lovers, which is about as big as it will get. I couldn’t help but compare my latest visit to my recent trek to Oppikoppi. Though White Mountain may involve music and camping, it couldn’t be further removed from its’ northern counterpart.

For one thing, you can replace the hard, red dust with green verdant pastures and picturesque mountains. The setting is truly stunning. You get a feeling of peace as soon as you drive into the main camping area, which is equipped with basic ablution facilities – also unlike Oppikoppi. (If you’re lucky you may even score a hot shower!)

With a single main stage where the majority of the action takes place, the pace is leisurely. There’s no need to rush around to see your favourites. It’s best to grab you gear and get comfy in front of the stage for the day.

Around you you’ll find people napping, sipping on cold Craft beer from Notties Brewery or coffee to keep off the mountain chill. You’ll see toddlers shaking their nappied tushes to the tunes. You’ll see old friends laughing in camping chairs and new friends being made around the bonfire. The food selection isn’t huge but what’s there is hearty – homemade potjikos, delicious shwarmas, vegetarian curry, pizza and giant burgers! Continue reading

Be mesmerized by the Mosaiek

For the working folk, Saturday is the best day of the week. One gets to sleep in. See friends; do some shopping; have a long, slow coffee. Feel good about life, the universe and, if not everything, at least most things. An event that certainly left us feeling good was the Metro FM African Masquerade hosted at the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

Three of the country’s most soulful artists, Kabomo, Unathi and Zonke graced the stage of the state of the art venue in celebration of Metro FM’s 26th birthday. Themed “African Masquerade”, people from every corner of the country poured into the sophisticated Teatro wearing masks and fashionably dressed.

Adjacent to the Teatro is a smaller sized venue, Viaticus, which was prepared as the VIP lounge for guests to mingle and enjoy an African cuisine before the start to the musical extravaganza. It was already half full when we arrived with couples occupying most of the couches. The bar was lined up with inviting drinks – of course we helped ourselves to one or two.

Sounds of Unathi and Kabomo’s music flowed through speakers as the lounge gradually filled up and conversations got us in the mood. At 7pm, an upbeat house song invited people into the main theatre were magic would soon ignite. Guests gathered in the spacious foyer, some stood at the front desk to collect their complimentary tickets. Continue reading

Top 5 KZN North Coast Beach Wedding Venues

Though we initially aimed to find the best beach wedding venues in Durban, the North Coast in particular proved to be a more popular option – just a few minutes outside of Durban you’ll find unspoiled beaches that stretch for miles just begging for a breath-taking wedding!

1. Canelands Beach Club & Spa

Canelands Beach Club and spa is a stylish and modern beach retreat just metres from Tiffany’s Beach, Salt Rock. With 10 spacious bedrooms that sleep a max of 20 guests & a restaurant serving 3 meals daily, Canelands is just intimate enough to create an exclusive & personal beach wedding for up to 100 guests – all overlooking the magnificent Indian Ocean.

2. Palm Dune Beach Lodge

This stunning yet rustic lodge is a premier North Coast wedding destination with direct beach access and options for an indoor or outdoor deck celebration. The cosy ambience is offset by fine dining cuisine and luxurious accommodation and an in-house spa. Their in-house wedding co-ordinator will make sure nothing goes amiss and the couple can enjoy their day stress-free.

3. Salt Rock Hotel

Expect affordable luxury at the Salt Rock Hotel. Set amongst the leafy green North Coast jungle, this venue is central – just 20 mins from the airport – with plenty of accommodation and amenities close by. There are several different indoor and outdoor venue options, catering to small or large parties, including a unique elevated glass room with a stunning ocean view.

4. The Boathouse

A popular venue with old-world charm, The Boathouse is also known for affordable class in a stunning setting. Ceremonies can take place on the sand or the expansive deck and all will be tailored to the bride’s particular specs. Comfortable & stylish rooms are available on the premises and the in-house restaurant serves top quality food.

5. Fairmont Zimbali Resort

Zimbali is a uniquely luxurious environment populated by decadent homes, stunning 5 star resorts and unbelievable natural beauty. While the Lodge is the most popular venue, there are other venues on the property that cater to the true beach wedding, allowing couples to say their “I do’s” on the flawless sand of the private Zimbali Beach. There are also several restaurants & reception venues that can accommodate a varied number of guests.

A wedding with a Vaal River view

An hour long drive to the Vaal River from Johannesburg seemed endless and the excitement could not be contained as we anticipated the celebration of my sister’s wedding. The sky was overcast and the wind was relentless but we were determined to commit to all the festivities.

A convoy of cars snaked along the N1S highway towards Bloemfontein. After driving through the Grasmere Tollgate the open road led the way to one of Sasolburg’s diverse venues. Situated on the banks of the Vaal River, Riverside Beach Club is a paradise for boat lovers and water skiers who have access to over 60 km of waters.

The 70 hectare nature and game farm also offers camping and lapa facilities for private functions. The largest Gemsbok lapa seating a maximum of 200 people was prepared to serve as the reception venue for my sister’s wedding. White draping with fairy lights covered the ceiling and the floor was covered with crisp white Tiffany chairs and white-clothed tables. Crystal centre pieces were delicately placed alongside pearl balls and mirrored flower boxes. This Gemsbok lapa was transformed to fulfil the bride and groom’s wedding dream.

A sign welcoming guests to the boat club appears along a narrow driveway leading to the main area of the farm. One can also see many rows of boat locker facilities. The club has one of the largestboat locker rentalfacilities on the Barrage Reservoir however; it is only members who have access to boat locker facilities that can enjoy more than 1kmof privateriver frontage and additional facilities. My uncle is one of these members and it is his boat that transported me, the bride and groom, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids across the river to the smaller lapa where anexcited congregation waited for the bridal party. Continue reading

Top 5 Cityscape Wedding Venues in Joburg

If you live in a big city like Joburg, sometimes it’s just better to embrace your environment than try and pretend you’re living elsewhere. That’s what today’s Top 5 is all about – making the most of Joburg’s awesome cityscape & incorporating it into your biggest of days. Some of these venues are so cool, they put the average beach wedding to shame!

1. 12 Decades Hotel

Perched atop the heart of the trendy Maboneng Precinct, you could not find a wedding venue with more street cred than this! Not only are the rooms super funky and modern, the rooftop function area has an incredible view of the city. Here you can have your rustic rooftop wedding, or create an event that’s classic and classy.

2. The Forum – Turbine Hall

Also based in the Newtown area, this historic building once served as a power station but has been refurbished into an industrial but modern and chic venue. Getting married here is probably the closest you could get to a NYC dream day – with the magnificent Jozi skyline outside to make you feel at home.

4. Radisson Blu – Sandton

There’s nothing dowdy about this stylish luxury hotel. A true cityscape venue, this one allows you to marvel at the skyline while you feast at the reception as well as having your glorious rooftop ceremony! The largest function room spans 320 square metres and is divisible into three separate rooms.

4. The Westcliff

The Westcliff is a traditional but truly an iconic Joburg venue, with a cityscape view to match. High on the hill, you will feel like a fairytale princess when you wed your prince at one of the most sought-after wedding venues in the city. With a choice of 4 elegant reception areas, including the famous Le Belle Terasse, you can be sure the food will also meet your expectations!

5. The Venue – Melrose Arch

Not so much ‘cityscape’ as a venue which embodies the modern & glamorous Jozi vibe, this space has played host to some of the city’s most exclusive shindigs. With 4 venue options inside the building, you can choose whether you want to be cocooned in one of the more intimate zones or parade like royalty in one of the larger banqueting halls. You’ll certainly feel like a celebrity when you pull up at this entrance.

Oppikoppi aint for the faint of heart

It was Thursday morning and the town of Northam was already swarming with would-be revellers collecting last minute supplies from ice to toilet rolls and wetwipes and making the most of that last toilet stop. (Boy, if I’d only known then…)

It was clear from the onset that this was not just a gathering, but a full-scale production. From the massive entrance to the moneyless cards we carried all weekend, you can be sure it was all Oppikoppi branded.
After collecting our armbands in an orderly fashion, we proceeded to get lost for the first time on the campsite roads. We had a map. We tried bravely to follow it. But the map and the corresponding bushveld are just not as compatible as one would hope.

Fast-forward about 20 minutes of blasphemy in the bushveld and we found our friends and the campsite. After hacking through thorn bushes and massive tufts of stubborn grass, we cleared almost enough space for our accommodations. Time to get lost again on the way to the entertainment area. You’d think it would be easy. The koppie is visible from all around, but somehow those sneaky, dusty roads kept getting the better of us.

Getting into the festival area involves crowding through one of three underground tunnels, which can leave you, at best, gasping for air and at worst, in the midst of a claustrophobia-induced panic attack. Not my first clue that Oppikoppi aint for the faint of heart.

With two stages requiring fairly substantial climbs to reach and the other four stages (yes, SIX!) spread out in a long row around the base of the hill, physical fitness (something I’m not familiar with) is a definite bonus. The performances are excellently scheduled so that there are minimal clashes. At this point I must mention the incredible Oppikoppi smartphone app, which I downloaded a few days before. For as long as my phone had battery, it was a total winner! After marking all the bands I wanted to see, the app would send me little reminders before each show. The map and stage schedule were both put to great use. Continue reading

The old barn that became beautiful

Magdel Brink loves nothing more than to creating unforgettable dream weddings for her clients at Groenrivier Function Center in the picturesque Riebeek Valley.

Today the popular venue encompasses three gorgeous venues, suitable for weddings or corporate functions and the main function centre boasts a 250m stoep with panoramic views of the Cape’s fruit-growing region.

But it wasn’t always the sophisticated space it is today. “In 1979 we built a barn to store our farm implements and vehicles,” remembered Magdel.

“Little did we know that the same rustic building would serve as my very own wedding venue in 1987. In 1999 we celebrated my father in law’s 70th birthday party in similar style, once again facing the tedious task of moving farm implements and vehicles out of the barn on the Friday and back in on the Monday. Following the success of both functions, my husband suggested that we transform “The Barn” into a function centre. With the help of my close friend Malita Joubert who successfully heads up the catering side of my business, we hosted our first wedding in the new Groenrivier Function Centre in December 1999.” Continue reading

Live brings new life to Durban

Durban is often criticised for its’ seeming lack of live music venues and support of local (and international) acts. But it’s not as simple as opening venues and marketing them to the right people. Even successful venues have folded due to issues like noise complaints, licencing concerns and people who refused to pay entrance fees. Recently a new venue has appeared on the local landscape and has been getting all the right kind of buzz from the difficult Durbanites.

Live The Venue has turned the traditional idea of a nightclub/ live music venue on its’ head by creating a blank canvas dedicated to live performance of any kind – a concept that may be just the remedy for the struggling artists of Durban.

We spoke to Bronwyn Kingsland about this family business with a difference!

Safindit: Who are the people behind Live the Venue?
Bronwyn: Live The Venue is a family business owned by the Kingsland Family. They also own their own professional sound company called Kingston Sound which specialises in live performances.

S: Tell us about the inspiration behind the venue and how it came to fruition?
B: We are in fact a platform for performing arts, and each and every event that is hosted at Live The Venue has to have a live entertainment element to it. We do not believe in simply putting a few Dj’s on stage and selling shots of liquor. Our family has a passion for the live entertainment industry and this project is one very close to home for us.
Live the venue is a converted warehouse, and the entire conversion was done by family members and members of the Kingston Sound Crew. Not one single outside contractor was bought in on this job. From building decks to the installation of new toilet facilities and the sewing of over 2000m of velvet curtaining, Live The Venue certainly holds a place in the teams heart.

The inspiration came from visiting a few venues in Durban and surrounding areas for live acts, and noticing they were other too cramped and not all the clients could see the performances, or on the other extreme, the venue would have a capacity of thousands and a few hundred would drown in its bareness. It was also noted that the quality of the sound in various venues was not up to scratch, and the atmosphere was often dark and depressing.
It was then that we saw a gap in the market. We would team up with our professional crew at Kingston Sound, and partner with Slingshot Productions to put on top-class acts in a new, vibrant, modern yet not pretentious environment . There are so many great bands and artists that have superb talent that deserve a platform to perform on, that will compliment their acts. This is what we aimed to provide.

S: What makes Live the Venue unique?
B: Live is unique as it cannot be classified into specific genre of entertainment. The venue is designed to accommodate for varying performances from comedy, cabaret, and fashion shows to rock bands and product launches. We have even hosted a 25-piece swing band on our stage. We believe this will prevent Live The Venue from getting stale and customers getting bored of the same thing week in and week out. Continue reading

I just love the way Moses glows

Moses Mabhida Stadium has become the most unique and conspicuous landmark to grace the Durban skyline.
From the first days when they were laying the foundations I watched with interest as the mammoth structure took form. When the massive arch finally came together, I did a little celebration dance and paid homage to the smart and creative people who had made it happen.

Though for many the stadium is permanent reminder of the hedonistic and joyful days leading up to and including the 2012 FIFA World Cup, I wasn’t lucky enough to get tickets to any of those games. Since then there have been many events held at this glorious arena, but none that I ended up actually attending. I simply watched it glow from afar. So it came to be that I bought tickets to the recent Manchester United tour match and finally I was able to not only step inside the hallowed space, but to see it operate in full capacity!

To see the stadium lit up at night is always something special, but to be up close and personal on a night like this was truly spine-chilling. The roar from inside reached us before we even crossed the road to the arena. Crowds in red and gold swarmed around the base of the stadium and we joined the throng, being herded from one enclosed area to another. The anticipation was thick and security was on high alert. We wondered why we couldn’t simply walk up one of the closer ramps to get to our section. Continue reading

Daily Collection

Suit Up – Look Legendary on your Big Day

Whether its’ a gala evening, business event, Matric Dance or your wedding day, a good suit (or tux) is imperative in order to not only fit the dress code, but also make an excellent impression.

As Barney Stinson once said, “Suits are full of joy. They’re the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile.” The prefect suit for an important occasion can make you feel like a superhero, equipped to deal with any challenge.

Not every man can afford to, or is inclined to buy a suit just for special occasions. That’s why we’ve rounded up as many South African suit hire businesses as we could in this collection. This way, you can easily find the outfitter that…ahem… suits you.

Quicket picks up speed!

Launched almost a year ago, Quicket is an online ticketing system with a difference or two. Their smart and simple system allows event organisers to easily create a profile and start selling tickets for their events within minutes. In a local landscape where the public and events promoters are getting fed up with some of the larger suppliers and are craving a more personalised and efficient solution, it makes sense that Quicket has all the makings of a success story!

We spoke to one of the masterminds behind the website, James Tagg.

Safindit: Who are the people behind Quicket?
James: Myself, James Tagg plus James Hedley, Tim Church and Mike Kennedy.

S: How did the idea for Quicket come about?
J: We started with the intention of creating a concept similar to After discovering we would have serious fraud problems and that the market wasn’t necessarily large enough, we decided to target the online ticketing market.

S: What skills/experience do you and your team have that make you the right team for the job?
J: James Hedley : Business development and marketing and Sales, Tim Church : Art Direction, Graphic design, Advertising, James Tagg, Mike Kennedy : Web Development – DotNet.
Our Combined skills cover most of the vital internal and external functions in the business.

S: What makes Quicket unique?
J: Our offerings for smaller event organisers, the super-quick and simple sign up process, the option for Facebook upload and to sell from Facebook or your own website.

We’ll soon have a free offering for smaller organisers and a complete range of self marketing tools with competitive pricing. Our Wildfire Facebook incentive system offers organisers incentives to customers who invite friends. We have a revolutionary cash sales system using kenito – anywhere anytime Kiosk – which facilitates a one-step purchase process.

S: How long did it take to develop Quicket?
J: 4 months Continue reading

Saturday afternoons will never be the same

There are plenty of places around the Mother City where you can get your fix live music, in a variety of genres. Most, but not all, of these take place after dark.
Sometimes you just feel like a li’l bit of a midday boogie…maybe with a delicious meal and a few refreshing beverages thrown in for good measure, right? Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you Rolling Stone Saturdaze at the Fat Cactus.

Rolling Stone magazine has been an international brand for decades, its finger firmly on the beating pulse of the global music scene. Our homegrown version launched late last year and has already become the must-have publication for all music fans, both in print and online. So when they decide to initiate a monthly music event, you sit up and listen.

Rolling Stone Saturdaze, the brain child of digital editor Anton Marshall (himself a successful musician) has only been running since June, and judging by last week’s, it’s already established itself as a firm fixture on the event calendar.

It takes place at the Fat Cactus in Gardens, supposedly from 11am on the last Saturday of the month. The time is fluid and flexible as any Capetonian knows. It was a grey day so my own start was a bit slow. Arriving closer to 1pm, I thought I would be distinctively and very fashionably late, but the band had only just started playing.
There was already a good crowd, which continued to grow, and the vibe was fantastic. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many of my friends in one place at one time, all out to support and socialise. Continue reading

Daily Collection

Fifa World Cup Stadiums – For Football Nostalgia

Very few South Africans can speak about the Fifa World Cup in 2010 without getting a little nostalgic, possibly even a bit teary! It was an incredible moment in our country’s history, a special time when all the negatives seemed to far outweigh the positives; when strangers celebrated as friends and the future looked bright.

At the centre of the celebrations stood South Africa’s world-class stadiums – designed and revamped to accommodate the masses of football fans and everyone had their favourite venue. It was in these hallowed grounds that battles were fought and history made; the stands christened with tears of joy and despair.

Today Fifa fever has long since abated and South Africa has been left with a slight hangover in the form of some unpaid bills and a few unanswered questions. Still, for the millions of locals and tourists who were a part of the magical experience, the stadiums stand as a reminder that, for a short time, South Africa truly was, the centre of the world.

Soul Candi Celebrates a Decade of Musical Dedication

It all began when two friends, Harael Salkow and MbusoTulwana started a small vinyl importer and retailer called Sugar Trax. Today, Soul Candi has become one of the most innovative and recognisable dance music brands in South Africa.
Recently the label celebrated its’ 10 year anniversary, releasing a 10-CD tribute collection to herald its decade in the dance scene.
But Soul Candi is more than a record label. It’s grown to encompass a digital music school, a studio and events division, as well as a clothing label.

We spoke to Soul Candi MD Andrew Cross about the label’s journey so far!

Safindit: Can you break it down for us & expand a bit on how each area of Soul Candi operates?
Andrew: We sign artists, commission and license music from all around the world and release it both on physical CD and for digital download (MP3’s, ringtones caller tunez etc.) We also put together music videos and sub-license our music for advertising i.e. synchronisation of music to picture.
SC Live is our eventing division. We throw all sorts of events: DJ and production workshops both for individuals and corporates, club nights, one off events and music festivals – Spring Fiesta being the major event in terms of festivals.
With SC Bookings, we run an artist management and bookings agency. We can book pretty much anyone in the world, but also have a range of exclusive artists that can only be booked through us. Some artists we represent locally include Mi Casa, Crazy White Boy, Dj Euphonik.
The Soul Candi Institute of Music (SCIM) is our educational division.We have our own digital music composition and production courses which we offer in conjunction with Boston City Campus.We also offer DJ courses from beginners to advanced courses as well as DJing in the digital era.

S: Of Soul Candi’s achievements, what are you most proud?
A: The difference we have made in peoples live through the platform of music!

S: What kind of person does it take to work for Soul Candi?
A: Obviously it takes hunger and passion to work within the music industry but for SC in particular, we need people with a ‘get it done’ attitude. No job is too big or too small for anyone in our organisation. If it needs doing, it needs doing!

S: What do you think it takes to become respected in your field?
A: Years of hard work and dedication; sticking to your guns when everyone around you says it can’t be done. Continue reading

Bringing Light & Life to the City

In 2009 Jonathan Liebmann (29) & his development company Propertuity built Arts on Main – a cultural hub known for its mix of galleries, artist studios, creative venues, offices & retail spaces.

Jonathan purchased the old DF Corlett construction offices and warehouses, and collaborated with architect Enrico Daffonchio of Daffonchio and Associates Architectsin converting this industrial space into a cutting-edge city destination.

During the construction Jonathan began to imagine a much broader vision: the transformation of the entire area around Arts on Main into a fully integrated, mixed-use community and a comprehensive and mixed-income residential offering. Maboneng was born. Named for the Sotho word for ‘place of light’, the precinct represents an enlightened community in Joburg’s eastern CBD.

We chatted to Propertuity Brand Manager Hayleigh Evans about this unique space.

Safindit: How do you think Propertuity’s vision translated into the actual space?
Hayleigh: The spaces have been designed to accommodate the above with many areas and retail spaces that encourage collaboration as well as a neighbourhood feel. A large focus has been placed on sourcing the right tenants offering a mix of lifestyle spaces: restaurants, galleries, retail spaces (furniture and fashion) and live entertainment spaces (Cinema, theatre, music venues as well as a rooftop boxing gym and venue). Continue reading