There are a precious handful of this type of tight-knit-community music festival popping up all over the region.
Words: Ian McNair | images: Russell Grant
Groups of music fans and musicians starting small, localised celebrations of what they’re into, building a community of likeminded people around those celebrations and then transforming them into small-to-medium scale getaways. In Joburg, Churn comes to mind. In Cape Town, CTEMF sits on the bigger end of the scale and on the other end, December’s cross-community Muse Festival is looking set to provide a mixing ground of up-til-now solitary, but like-minded communities of music fans.
Psych Night, as we mentioned in our investigation into what makes them tick, have been building up a sense of community around their events, initially focused on the genre of psych rock and gradually broadened into anything that could be defined as psychedelic. Their sense of community and attention to detail have been defining characteristics of all their events, and this past weekend’s festival was – as expected – no different.
Of course, like even the best in Cape Town, they suffer from an overwhelmingly lilly white audience.
How much of that is up to them as curators to fix is a topic for another article, but their attempts to book and cater for a more colourful clientele do not go unnoticed.
The way that things panned out and the way Psych Night have built to this point is a playbook for anyone hoping to build something of value around what they’re into for a likeminded community. From the bar, the site, the food, the lineup flow and selection of acts, to the way the team seemed to seamlessly work together – with such passion and synergy, it was a vision to behold.
From the post-fest feedback on social media, it seems that crowd favourites were the visceral, spiritual cleanse of BCUC and a rare, gorgeous showing from Bateleur, and the nascent golden boys Sol Gems. Other highlights were the tricky-but-delicious taste of Felix Laband, Medicine Boy, Black Math, legends Kalahari Surfers, Bye Beneco and the brilliant abandon of the After Hours DJs‘ closing set.
We sent Russell Grant, a photographer and writer from Durban to observe and document the magical essence of the festival and below are the highlights of what he captured: