Durban brings you Music at the Lake
16 October 2015
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Welcome onto Old Mutual Live, I’m Brad Brown, great things, start here, great things start now. I’ve taken over from Aphiwe Manono, she’ll be back in the next edition of Old Mutual Live Music. I wanted to chat about a great series of concerts that takes place down in Kwazulu-Natal, it’s Music on the Lake, sponsored by Old Mutual and I thought we’d chat to one of the gentlemen involved in putting that series on. Stu Berry from Impi Events, Stu, welcome onto Old Mutual Live, thanks for chatting to us today.
Stu Berry: Thanks Brad, good to be here, nice to be able to chat some music with you.
BB: Stu, there’s a couple of great events from a music perspective around the country. You think about the events that take place in the Botanical Gardens up in Gauteng, also down in the Western Cape, but in KZN you’ve got your very own series as well.
How KZN rocks Music at the Lake
SB: Yes, we do, the Old Mutual Music at the Lake series and I suppose the only difference really between that and the rest of the country is the fact that ours is based in the Botanical Gardens next to a lake. Hence the name, Music at the Lake versus Music in the Gardens, which the Kirstenbosch and the Walter Sisulu and the Johannesburg ones are based around.
So, we’ve been really lucky in Durban. We took over the series, contracted to the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust, who obviously have a relationship with Old Mutual around operating these shows and Durban is, I suppose, notoriously known as the slow music people.
They sort of decide the day before whether they’re going to go watch Cold Play or U2 versus the rest of the country who are prepared to book tickets 5-6 months in advance and that culture is now slowly changing in Durban.
We’ve got some wonderful acts that have come to Durban, the likes of George Ezra, the likes of Mumford & Sons have just been announced to come to Durban and perform at the Botanical Gardens. We’ve just had Toni Braxton here.
Durban’s 2022 Commonwealth Games successful bid is not obviously going to put Durban on the map. So really looking forward to attracting some really big names through to Durban and particularly the Music at the Lake series, which has become the most popular music series in KZN.
I know from an Old Mutual perspective, the numbers that awe are luckily attracting to our series now are topping those around the rest of the country, so it’s showing that Durban really does have a good music culture at the moment.
BB: Stu, ja, it’s a whole series of events and you’ve hosted some of South Africa’s top artists. Can you tell us who some of the names you’ve had and been able to host in Durban?
Some really powerful South African acts have been on show
SB: Ja, I would say the most memorable show for me, was something that took us about 4-5 months to choreograph and actually put together. So we’d staged Johnny Clegg, we’d staged the Mango Grooves, we’d had the Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s come and do special shows like Carols by Candlelight. I think those have been the rewarding stories, is being able to not just put on big names, but be able to give an opportunity to smaller names and let them grow within the Durban market to hopefully giving them their own concert one day.
I think for us the most enjoyable and certainly the most memorable one that we’ve done was a collaboration, it was the first time ever collaboration between Johnny Clegg and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and by collaboration, it was a full show and each of the bands did their own sets and within those sets there were collaborations.
So you had the likes of Johnny Clegg coming onto stage to perform Homeless, which is obviously an iconic song within South Africa, within our past and our history and certainly iconic for Ladysmith Black Mambazo and you had Johnny Clegg fulfilling this iconic Paul Simon role from the late 80s, on stage, performing with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
You had Ladysmith Black Mambazo on stage with Johnny Clegg performing an emotional rendition of Asimbonanga, which is obviously the song that Johnny’s dedicated towards Nelson Mandela and for us to have, as a company and certainly under the auspices of the Botanic Gardens Trust and Old Mutual, to have put together a show that had so much significance for us as individuals. Certainly for every one of the 5 000 sold out people that attended, to put those two iconic acts onto one stage and have them perform together. I think was really special for us and was special for the people of Durban to be a part of that.
BB: I love that, Stu, that is fantastic. If people want to find out more about the Old Mutual Music at the Lake, where can they go to find out? I know there is some info on dogreatthings.co.za, but is there another website that you’re aware of where there is more info?
SB: Yes, we’ve got our own, which is http://www.musicatthelake.co.za/ and then we’ve got a really active and superb following on Facebook, we’ve got about 11 000 – 12 000 Likes on there, so that’s just Music At the Lake Durban Botanic Gardens and then you can also follow us on Twitter which is @dbnbotgardens and then Old Mutual have one which the whole concert series, which is @omconcerts. So a variety of platforms to be able to interact with us around the music side in Durban.
BB: Excellent stuff, be in touch, we love hearing from you. if there’s anything you’d like to hear from here on the Old Mutual Live Music edition, just be in touch. It’s as simple as that. The full artist line up for Music at the Lake is available on that website as well and depending on when you listen to this, it might depend on who is coming up next, so go check it out, http://www.musicatthelake.co.za/, all the details are there. Stu Berry, thank you very much for your time today, much appreciated, we look forward to catching up again soon.
SB: Cheers Brad, thank you very much.