By: Ayabonga Ngoma
Dance. Dance. Dance. Dance some more! Not just lyrics to the iconic Mango Groove song, but seemed to be the order of the day for all festival goers. This past Women’s Day, the winter sun decided to give us a perfect setting of clear skies and selfie friendly light to bring in the first ever Emmarentia Live music fest. With the dam as the backdrop, the park was turned into a festive congregation of thousands of Joburgers of all ages who came out to enjoy the amazing local acts set to perform on stage.
The line-up was a diverse mix of legendary SA bands fronted by women; Mango Groove and Freshlyground to local favourites Mi Casa, Gangs of Ballet, Good Luck and acoustic folk band Bad Peter. There was a little something for everyone who came through and the performers really brought their A-game to this festival and didn’t disappoint their fans.
From walking in I could feel the feeling of celebration in the air. Well organised event with cashless technology to make everyone’s life easy, check. Over a dozen food trucks to fill you up with yummy bites, check. A kid zone to keep the young ones entertained throughout the day, check. Beer and wine garden loaded up with umbrellas so we all kept our complexions, check. The organisation and sponsors of this event, really made sure everything was well thought out to create a great experience above the great entertainment that I already expected from the line-up.
Hit after hit, the acts had the crowds dancing, jumping and singing along to South African favourites such as Doo Be Doo, Jika, All The Colours and my all-time favourite Special Star! I don’t even remember sitting down from the moment I moved up all the way towards the stage. There were magical moments of people looking to strangers to sing along and look at one another as if to say “Do you remember this one?”
Another great moment was when Mi Casa trumpeter Mo-T joined Mango Groove on stage to play a song in honour of his late father, Banza Kgasoane, one of the founding members of Mango Groove. Who even knew? Just amazing stuff really. Freshlyground’s Zolani Mahola and Claire Johnston sang a vocally fuelled and touching song together to honour Women’s Day and encourage all South African women to celebrate who they are no matter what.
A great day was had by all (I know I sure did!) Be sure to bring your picnic baskets, family and umbrellas for the next festival. I’m certain from this year’s turn out and success, it will only get bigger and much better!
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Ayabonga is just a small town boy, livin’ in Johustleburg. Governed by music. An extroverted introvert. Curious mind, but never nosy. Engineer who is a wannabe creative. Find him on Twitter: @Ayab0nga