Festivals around the world have, in the past few years, followed a trajectory deeply linked to the electronic music that has come to dominate it’s line-ups. House, and EDM in particular, has grown both in popularity and in the size of the productions as the size of its primary venues have moved from dark rooms to the main stage of most outdoor festivals. It’s been great for sheer spectacle: the beats, lights, crowds and stakes are bigger than ever – but as is to be expected, the move to growth has not been without a countermovement.
Enter the boutique festival…
Being exactly what they sound like, boutique festivals are built to be small, focussed and intimate events – free of stampede crowds and with a greater licence to vary the line-up. Even pop behemoths such as the UK’s T in The Park Festival have hinted at going “more boutique”, and here in South Africa, amongst very few great boutique festivals, we have Churn.
Built from the ground up to be a most intimate affair, Churn is low key one of the country’s best festivals. The lineup at the sophomore event last year was so hip, it hurt. It couldn’t have been more on the nose. Local underground legends such as Christian Tiger School, Kid Fonque, Jazzuelle and RudeBoyz were joined by foreigner heavyweights Daedelus and Charles Webster. Just wondering how on earth this one day fest was put together in only it’s second year was a huge part of the appeal of the festival which takes place only 30mins from central Johannesburg, at the Tweefontein Melkery.
Just last week, Churn announced the dates for this years edition of the festival, moving to the warmer summer dates of October the 1st and 2nd.