Fun at Darling’s Voorkamer Festival, Darling, 02.09.11

One of Cape Town’s best kept secrets is the Voorkamer Fees. It’s probably because it’s not actually IN Cape Town, but it’s a festival for those who love art. Based on a Dutch Festival concept the Voorkamer Fees, meaning the Lounge / Living Room Festival, show cases a variety of artists in a the lounges of various homes in Darling. Darling is based 80kms from Cape Town, a small farming town that is home to famed Tannie Evita’s and her Paron!

This is how the Voorkamer Fees works: There are 5 routes. Each tickets grants you one route. On each route there are 3 homes, therefore, you see 3 acts per routes. There is a Friday 5pm route, Saturday 12pm and 5pm and Sunday lunch time route.

The first visit I went to the Voorkamer Fees I saw Marc Lottering, Bushmen Musicians playing traditional bow and arrow music and a Dutch artist who sang with a live pianist. In the second visit I saw Dan Shout – South African musician who performed with a loop station, Solo Flamenco and Toneelgroep Matzer’s Sweet Revenge, a beautiful monologue by Dutch Performers. My third visit provided comedy by Siv Ngezi, Nomfusi – South African Singer and Flutist and Pianist Owen Britz & Pieter van Zyl from South Africa. This year we saw Charles the Magician who I recognise as a television actor, Ubuntu B-Boy Crew (South Africa’s best B-Boy crew who represents our country globally, Jed (one of the team who is literally the soloist breakdancing world champion) and a Flautist, whose name escapes me!

Travelling by taxi from house to house, one in a township, one in the village and one on a hill, this festival gives the audience a unique perspective on different South African lives. Each lounge is set up with an exact number of chairs, all squished in together. Each performance is between 20 – 30 minutes and is a wonderful cultural experience.

This year the festival was made even better with the inclusion of wine stalls, food stalls and a marquee. This means that the audiences are able to have a drink and some food after the show, gather around the fires, keep warm and discuss the evening’s shows. Usually one would have to saunter down the road in the hopes of finding a restaurant. This festival quad makes a big difference and allows the audience to continue to enjoy the spirit of the occasion. The Voorkamer Festival is a truely wonderful cultural experience filled with lots of laughs. Tickets sell out quickly so make sure you book early for next year!

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