As spring and summer roll back around in SA, bringing with them our country’s busy festival season, one can usually tick off a touring list of outdoor music events. One urban festival, though, which has been growing in scope and ambition over its four-year tenure is the decidedly geeky and tech-focused Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival.
The festival, this year running a full week from the 8th to the 16th of September, has a collaborative spirit at its heart: workshops, panel discussions, related mini conferences, and playful media. Music has always been a well-integrated element of the festival’s scope. This year though, things have been taken up a notch (or 12), with the tapping up of the perpetually excellent promoters Weheartbeat for the official closing Bloc Party on the final Saturday of the festival.
For years now, Weheartbeat has cultivated a steady following and rock-solid reputation in Joburg’s party scene – mainly off of the power of their curatorial bookings. Line-ups for their parties are always considered, expanding in a number of directions.
For the Bloc Party, the promoters have managed to bring down a selection of impressive artists, international producers and performers from in-demand crews like Soulection (Joe Kay) and Stones Throw (MNDDSGN), as well as up and coming international tastemakers like Masego – practically a lay-up when it comes to setting the event up for success.
That being said, where the bookings really succeed is in putting together an Ocean’s Eleven style crew of local specialists to help steal the show.
Most of the bookings are as surprising as they are inspired. Having both the critically acclaimed Zaki Ibrahim (who is sorely missed from the Jhb live circuit) on the same bill as fellow future-soul songstress Nonku Phiri makes so much sense it seems criminal that it hasn’t happened before. Up-and-coming live production duo Beat Sampras on the same line-up as MELODIESINFONIE also has a particularly exciting synergy.
To see such a variety of these players under one banner will certainly set a high watermark. Label-head and cerebral rap producer Micr.pluto, bass enthusiast DJ Doowap and deep cut DJ Brownpepperan, for example, will also make a showing, artists that are all likely to be immensely influential players on the local landscape very soon. With events like tomorrow night’s Bloc Party on the rise, we’re starting to see the beginnings of a musically varied scene of alternative producers, promoters of music and DJs beginning to take form in Johannesburg, and it’s about time.
Catch the full showcase of awesomeness tomorrow night at 41 Juta street in Braam. Presale tickets are available at Quicket to avoid paying more at the door, which you can find here. In the meantime, check out a teaser below: