It’s late August in South Africa, which means that the outdoor festival season is in full swing. Oppikoppi’s come and gone, Rocking the Daisies ticket sales are steadily rising and this weekend of course, it’s SA’s premium alternative dance music festival, Grietfest.
An event that’s become known for hosting the country’s best DJs and producers – both the up-and-comers and the heavyweights – as well as bringing down some of the most sought after acts in the international scene, Grietfest is a unique festival. Take its venue for starters, an expansive, concrete yard filled with shipping containers that for one day, transforms into a fully functional outdoor festival. Then there’s its audience which, while primarily comprising Jo’burg movers and shakers, sees people coming from all over the country to dance the day away.
Certainly, Grietfest has had a history of pulling off some of the most memorable outdoor, live music experiences and this year’s event looks set to be just as good. With a collective line-up featuring the likes of Niskerone, Thibo Tazz, Thor Rixon and a few international acts like Dimesnion, Lektrique and Proxy, Grietfest-goers really are spoiled for choice this year.
We’ll be there this Saturday 27 August to experience it first hand, but in anticipation, we’ve highlighted five of the local acts we’re most looking forward to this year.
Buli – Red Bull Studio Live Stage
An ambient beatmaker on the rise, Buli’s the first act of the day and there couldn’t be a better opening set than his. Buli’s music is a hazy and ethereal mix of shimmering synthscapes and confident, cyclical percussion. It’s the perfect soundtrack to limber up to while the first few drinks of the day begin to take effect. That said, he’s got a few numbers that’ll get you moving too, and he tends to throw them into the mix at the most unexpected times. Remember, showing up late to places isn’t something you do in Jo’burg (Cape Town please take note), so make sure you’re here in time for this set. It’s not one you’ll want to miss out on.
ANG – Fiction Nights Take Over Stage
Radio host, club manager, label founder, and full-time supporter of local music, Angela Weickl wears more hats than most people you’ll meet. This Saturday she’ll be taking a break from all of that as she drops the hats and takes to the decks as ANG. ANG’s sets are always heavy. If you’re going to close the Red Bull stage on the last day of Oppikoppi (as ANG recently did), they kind of have to be. The thing about ANG is that she knows her music intimately, meaning she can read a crowd perfectly, switching things up at just the right moment or if necessary, ramping it all the way up and getting everyone off their arses. Whatever your mood, you’ll find something you love in ANG’s set this Saturday.
Reepa – Science Frikshun Stage
What’s a day long dance festival without a heavy dose of Drum&Bass? Reepa’s a Jo’burg-based DJ and producer who’s been making a name for himself in the underground D&B and bass music scene for some time now. His mixes, all expertly curated, come at your hard and fast, sometimes for two hours at a time. He also has a knack for shrewdly and effectively mashing up and blending together tracks that have no business being in the same set. Reepa’s booked to play the last set on the Science Frikshun Stage this year so you can be sure he’ll close the stage on one hell of a good note.
White Nite – Fiction Nights Take Over Stage
Sharing the Fiction Nights Take Over stage with ANG is Cape Town’s White Nite. White Nite’s a longstanding DJ on the local music scene, having held down regular sets on the Cape Town circuit for years now. His sets traverse a wide range of genres, from big, bass-heavy numbers to kwaito-electro tracks and almost always with a nod to that old school hip hop sound. He routinely rinses out the cramped dancefloor at Fiction and considering he’ll be taking his set to an outdoor stage this Saturday, it’s safe to assume he’ll be drawing one of the biggest crowds at this year’s Grietfest.
Sibot and Toyota – Olmeca Main Stage
Have you ever seen a Sibot and Toyota show? It’s a goddamn spectacle. If you’re a fan of South African electronic music, you’ll definitely be familiar with Sibot’s wild, free-flowing, button-bashing blend of electro and oscillating bass music. When it’s paired with Toyota’s visuals however, it really takes on a new life. Sibot and Toyota bring a theatrical element to electronic and dance music that’s often underplayed in a live setting. If you’ve never witnessed the two in action, now’s your chance. They’re on at 6pm on the Olmeca Main Stage. Stock up on drinks, make your way there early and sit tight. It’ll be worth the wait.