Take a squiz at our quiz and know before you go
Words: Craig Stack | Illustrations: Saul Marcus
As you know we’re knee-deep in festival season and already you can tell we’re in for a summer like no other. To give you a little bit of background, I began my jolling journey a good 15 years ago (after sneaking into a festival I was a little too young to attend) and over the years have attended all of the biggest festivals in the country while at the same time hitting up parties in London, Ibiza, Mykonos and America. Me and my best mate and raving buddy, Ricky ByNight, then turned our passion for the jol into a full time job and six years later there are absolutely no complaints from either us.
For this list, which is significantly shorter than our MyCityByNight 2015/2016 Festival Calendar, I’ve named my favourite festivals and reviewed them in terms of sight, sound, price, mission, what they say and, most importantly, what I think. But before you head there be sure to take the little quiz my clever friends at The Way of Us put together. Rave safe!
Cape Town Electronic Music Festival 6 – 8th of February 2016
Sound: The sound and lighting is produced by one of the best teams in the country; you won’t get a better audiovisual experience. This festival is known for having an impeccabe, fine-tuned sound system that brilliantly showcases all forms of electronic music.
Sights: Party in a brand new venue! Every year CTEMF takes place at monumental venues in Cape Town. The V&A Breakwater Rooftop gave us a panoramic view of the ocean, the Grand Parade had the phenomenal City Hall and Table Mountain as the backdrop and, most recently, the City Hall provided an architectural masterpiece with a world-class rooftop floor.
Price: R200 a day or R550 (early bird) and R650 for the full weekend pass. Considering you’ll get to see between 6 – 10 international acts, the ticket is well worth the cost.
Mission: It’s an urban inner-city festival, so it's simple to get to from all angles; whether you use public transport, Uber or drive yourself, and it’s relatively easy to find the parking (and the party).
They say: Underground. Dope. Music is the main focus.
I say: Diverse crowds. Attention to detail. A very deep love of electronic music.
2. Rocking The Daisies
Sound: The sound is always done with the numbers of partier goers in mind. Each stage is fully equipped with large rigs, epic lighting and thundering bass. Daisies is music festival that crosses the all forms of the music spectrum.
Sights: By October, short-shorts season is in full swing, so if you’re partying/lounging at the Beach Bar or anywhere else at Daisies, expect a truckload of eye candy.
Price: This year the price has increased slightly with Phase 1 tickets at R750 to Phase 3 tickets at R950.
Mission: Based in Darling, a drive of an hour or two is easily expected. NOTE: Do NOT leave Cape Town during peak hour traffic, or leave the festival first thing on Sunday morning. Trust me.
They say: Cape Town’s biggest festival. A various array of music to enjoy throughout your weekend.
I say: The Rave Cave is one of my favourite dance floors to be on.
3. We Love Summer
Sound: Deep House, Techno and Tropical House. Smaller rig than most, but the We Love Summer boys are known for a finely tuned event.
Sights: The team at We Love Summer have amassed a cult like following from Cape Town’s young and sexy. Expect beautiful people and the Western Cape’s finest landscapes.
Price: From R180 – R250 for a boutique 12 hour daytime experience. Always worth it.
Mission: Venues vary from enchanted forests in Franschhoek, to the Blue Rock in Somerset West – but you'll never have to drivefor more than an hour.
They say: Wild, crazy, bikinis, good tunes,
I say: Unbelieve amounts of beautiful people. You’re bound to come right.
4. Love & Light
Sound: Sound is a key focus for Love & Light. I’ll give them a very confident 10/10 for sound and lighting at their events. Progressive Psytrance.
Sights: Whether it’s at Mountain Shadow’s or Nelson’s Wine Estate, you can expect a mountain view with loads of sexy people. Always.
Price: It’s between R250/R300 for a boutique 12-hour day party experience of Techno and Progressive Psytrance including a minimum of four of the most relevant international acts.
Mission: Both venues are in the Franschhoek / Wellington farmland areas and require a 45-minute drive to the venue.
They say: Beautiful people, top tunes and excellent sound.
I say: A top class production that leaves you wanting more when it’s done.
5. Kinky Disco
Sound: Kinky Disco thrives off providing their party goer’s an audio experience like no other. Hidden on a wine farm expect the finest Deep House and Techno to blow your mind this summer.
Sights: Kinky Disco is known for being incredibly picky when choosing their venues, and rightfully so, they’re always making sure we get to party with incredible backdrops and insane sunsets.
Price: It’s priced similarly to We Love Summer, with tickets ranging from R180 to R250, and always includes a top Deep House or Techno international act. They recently hosted Tale of Us from Berlin.
Mission: Depending on the venue you can expect to drive about an hour to get there.
They say: A household name on the Cape Town calendar. Not to be missed.
I say: Always careful attention to the lineup, which I can only appreciate.
Sound: Ultra is an EDM audiovisual experience that’s hard to forget. We’re fortunate to experience the full Ultra Music Festival rig pyrotechnics and all, which gets brought down to South Africa.
Sights: This one is not for people with epilepsy. Ultra takes the audiovisual experience to the next level. You’ll also see really beautiful Capetonians.
Price: The price ranges from R700 to R1600 for the biggest names in EDM at the moment.
Mission: The venue has been moved to the River Club in Observatory making it easily accessible via using public transport, Uber or driving. Get there early to avoid any traffic disasters.
They say: Cape Town’s biggest electronic music event on the calendar.
I say: Nothing like a little rave every now and then!
7. Tropical Roast
Sound: With venues and décor being the main focus, you may find a smaller DJ set-up but you can always be sure of a thumping sound rig pumping Deep House & Techno.
Sights: You’ll see large amounts of beautiful people dressed up in tropical gear. The Tropical Roast has done well to promote the dress-up and tropical feel as part of everyone’s preparation.
Price: Another reasonably priced 16 hour boutique day party with a top international name, the most recent being Max Cooper and Art Department.
Mission: Whether it’s at the Secret House in the suburbs or at the Quarry, you’re not going spend more than 40 minutes in your car.
They say: “Brother, the chicks here are fucking mooi hey!?”
I say: Get dressed up, knock back some tropical drinks and dance your ass off.
Sound: This all depends where you end up – each dance floor, stage, arena or whatever else people want to call their set up is brought in from afar. Some are professional set ups, while others are anything but. All deserve respect.
Sights: The Burn leaves your mind wandering with the creativity you stumble on each day. You have to experience a Burn at least once in your life to fully understand it.
Price: R1 000 a ticket but it costs a lot more when you consider gear, food, petrol, party treats and every other necessity you’d need in the desert.
Mission: Tankwa Town is in the middle of the Karoo, a good five hours away. Drive carefully along the dirt road (it’s known for eating tires). And once you get there it’s up to you to survive.
They say: A life changing experience. Only a Burner knows.
I say: You’ve got to head up to Tankwa Town once in your life.
Sound: You can always count on the Vortex crew and DB Sound to provide you with earth shattering baselines.
Sights: The ‘Circle of Dreams’ is known for being a venue featuring a dance floor with an abundance of energy surrounded by old oak trees, which the décor compliments perfectly.
Price: You can expect to pay between R480 to R550 for a 5-day psychedelic trance experience with up to 10 international acts.
Mission: It’s about two hours to Riviersonderend so buckle up and drive safely.
They say: Cape Town’s longest running Psytrance festival, giving you five days of nonstop, foot-stomping trance.
I say: A very sacred gathering. One of the few psychedelic trance parties that remains true to the roots (here I am showing off my hippy side).
10. Sexy Groovy Love
Sound: Kilawatt AV have been on board since day one and they’ve always provided a solid sound rig for the Deep House and Techno sounds.
Sights: SGL is the new kid on the block and they’ve gained a die hard following due to their impeccable choice of venue, music and décor, and providing an experience that caters for the upper echelon of the Cape Town scene.
Price: Similar to the rest of the boutique events, you can expect to pay between R180 – R250.
Mission: The Paarl / Franschhoek winelands have become home to the SGL events, and it is now held in Johannesburg, too.
They say: A newcomer on the party calendar gaining a great reputation for having a world class venue, loads to look at and top class Deep House, Tech House and Techno tunes
I say: A fun day out with loads of eye candy. I always feel the need to klap some gym before these jols.
EDEN – Only one party to their name but what a jol it was, look out for these guys in the coming months.
Origin – One of Cape Town’s biggest Psytrance festival with a big focus on a second Techno stage. Run by Goodtime Events and Nano Records, you know you’re going to be treated to the finest international acts.
Imagine – A new blend of day party by the old Beartrap productions crew. Expect the latest in Progressive Psytrance at Cape Town’s most beautiful venues.
Synergy Live – A festival that has seen a massive revival where you can expect three to four dance floors to treat yourself with.
Wolfkop Weekender – A festival I hold so close and dear to my heart, I don’t even want to advertise it, it’s that good.
Make Love Not War – Launching for the first time on Heritage Day, this event is something out of the ordinary. With a Bohemian feel, the focus is on the 60s, 70s & 80s.
Grand Africa – I’d give this a try if I were you.