South Africa is no stranger to great music festivals, and the music scene in general is pretty vibrant. As is probably the case with any country so beautiful, and of such a decent size, however, it seems as if there are a lot more places that could be used for concerts and festivals, but aren’t.
While we’d never want droves of tourists to disrupt the country’s natural beauty in any kind of permanent way, or in a fashion that could harm ecosystems, we’d still suggest that there are some flawless areas and venues that could put on really good shows for a couple days at a time. Here are some of our suggestions:
Arguably the most iconic landmark in all of South Africa, Table Mountain is practically made to host a new music festival. While a lot of prospective tourists look at this glorious mountain towering over Cape Town as a hiking destination, there’s actually plenty to do on top as well, in what’s actually designated as a National Park.
That means Table Mountain isn’t just a peak for people to hike up and down, but rather a whole area over the city, which some fail to realize. Accordingly, it could absolutely support a stage and a fairly large crowd of people hiking, camping out in advance, or riding the cable cars up to the shows.
There’s no one thing about the town of Paarl in the western Cape that screams “music festival,” and yet when you just look at images of it, it looks perfect. Sparse housing, large farming fields (for olive and wine production) and a mountainous backdrop look very much like they could host a large outdoor festival. And despite its relatively small size, Paarl is used to hosting crowds due to vineyard tourism.
Granted, there would have to be a way of arranging crowds so as not to disrupt the actual farming fields, but that feels like a relatively minor hurdle before what would be an excellent space.
With people now able to find mobile options for their casino and gambling needs, brick-and-mortar casinos get a little less attention. The rise of online and mobile gaming is unstoppable, and does tend to pull people in other directions. Nevertheless some casinos around the world are still pretty special to visit, and we’d count Sun City in Rustenburg in that category. A gigantic casino and hotel complex known for pretty pool areas and world-class golf courses could absolutely support a major concert or festival, with accommodations on site.
This name pretty much says it all. Set up against the Drakensberg cliff face, it’s really an otherworldly setting, and one that seems ideally suited for a music festival. The feasibility and safety of setting up sound to reverberate off of the cliffs are a little unclear, but the idea is definitely interesting. And even if that’s a little ambitious, setting up a stage area in the valley a little farther from the cliffs seems very doable.
Knysna has rightly been declared one of the most beautiful places in all of South Africa. That’s definitely saying something, but when you look at this town and its famed lagoon and realize that it all resembles a Mediterranean paradise, you get the idea. This would probably need to be a somewhat smaller festival, but any possible staging on the beaches or land surrounding the lagoon would make for a magical setting, and a place that would put Knysna on the map as a major tourist destination.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.