On the weekend of March 16th 2018, some of Cape Town’s best promoters and a curious new event brand put their heads together to bring a fresh, new festival concept to local party-goers. This culminated in the first Bazique Festival, which took place at Elgin Country Club, about 45 minutes out of Cape Town.
The fest boasted six stages, which opened and closed over the three day experience. But that didn’t seem to deter the enthused punters from embracing this new environment and experiencing some of the world’s best electronic acts, as well as a hefty lineup of local stalwarts in a very unique location. But there was alot more to tickle your fancy than just the exciting acts.
Arriving fashionably late on the Friday night, we drove through the utter darkness to arrive at the venue. After piling our bags into the tent, we headed into the chilly night, with nothing but distant lights and the boom of the sound stages in the distance. With a slip here and a mis-step there, we exited the campsite to an expanse of dark terrain, and with the intricate, illuminated art installations guiding our way, we were able to see the “playa”—a vast space of flatland—reminiscent of Afrikaburn.
Bright, colourful bursts of light were scattered across the dried up Wesselsgatrivier, which at the time was merely sand and stone. One mutant vehicle/art car named Mollie—a larger than life, dazzlingly lit-up mollusc—drove past us and gave us our first taste of the workmanship that went into producing this extraordinary festival.
First stop was the Protea stage. The flower-shaped tent gleamed into the night and beckoned us to join in the fun. Impressed with our timing, we stepped into the light with Keinemusik’s &ME taking charge of the dancefloor. As one of the more anticipated headliners, it was a true spectacle to experience the creator of “Avalon” do his thing, all from a small gap in a massive boombox, the Rave Rover, which would be the DJ box for this stage over the weekend.
A quick stop at the well-lit bar gave us a much better idea of the effort these punters put into their outfits. In typical "burn" style, you could see the odd fur coat, a few pixies with glowing head-dresses, and the old faithful steampunker—all adding to the night-time experience. There was an essence of frivolity in the air, with the mature crowd taking to this playground and embracing their inner kids.
Moving deeper into the playa, we approached a huge dome, which appeared on to be fire thanks to the large-scale projection on its white surface. Greeted by the neon sign out front, we had entered the Frisky Disco stage. With Papa Disco himself, Pierre Estienne, at the helm, the punters got down to some funky jams on an LED dance floor, surrounded by towering multicoloured art installations.
Not able to stay in one place at this point, and with the beach bar closed for the night, we headed to the main stage arena, which too was closed after performances by Jimmy Nevis, PH Fat and Champions of the Sonaverse. But the grandeur of La Fee Verte gained our intrigue.
Entering on a red-carpet, we were greeted by a concierge in a tuxedo and transported into a ‘20s revue club with all the trimmings—and the punters here clearly got the memo as most of them had dressed up to suit the theme. With a casino hidden to the right of the dancefloor, La Fee Verte felt like an authentic speakeasy, and with high energy house music pumping from the likes of Toby2Shoes and The Get Down, a true “Great Gatsby” experience was had in this meticulously thought-out arena.
But with a hankering for some deeper beats, the Protea became our home for the night and we were treated to some top-class techno from the CTEMF soundsystem, and a beautiful sunrise set from JNN KPN. With the music only ending at 8AM, we eventually headed back to charge up for the rest of the Saturday.
Waking up in shock in the blazing heat, I had overslept! And the Ukudlala Beach Bar was now in full effect. After hurriedly downing water from a five litre bottle, it was on with the shorts and straight into the bliss that was the Wolfkop takeover. The Wolfkop residents, Dan Tempo, Bruno Morphet and Richard Marshall did what they do best, and built the dancefloor into a frenzy, before handing over to Irish haymaker Mano Le Tough for a set that can only described as a masterclass.
Venturing through a variety of house and disco sounds, Le Tough unified the dancefloor with the set of the festival. Bold, seamless and energizing, he gave the punters exactly what they needed before round two.
We then headed to the front of the main stage to take in the electrifying performance by Foreign Beggars. With DJ Nonames opening the set with some grime, Metropolis and Orifice Vulgatron took to the stage with an awe-inspiring performance, displaying their lyrical prowess. The Beggars delivered a mind-blowing performance and gave 110 percent—a tick on the bucket list for me.
After the main stage madness it was time to settle into a groove for the night and German DJ and producer Iorie lit up the Protea with a barrage of slow-mo keta-pop, that tickled the synapses and kept the feet stomping. Watching this young cat throw down such immense tunes was a truly unique experience, and an excellent booking for Baziquers.
For the rest of the night and into the early morning, we travelled between the Protea and Frisky Disco, taking in the whirlwind of tech house, disco, funk and psytrance with sets by Rigopolar, D-Nox, DJ Invizable, Atmos and Artelligent, and ended the night playing snake on a giant LED screen in a multicoloured chill lounge in the middle of the playa. The constant walk-dancing eventually took its toll and left us worse for wear for the remainder of what was an incredible experience in Elgin.
What made Bazique a unique experience was undoubtedly the crowd and the dedicated artists, who tapped into the spirit of the festival and helped deliver the essence of Bazique throughout the weekend. The dancefloors were packed with smiles, and with some of the best stage production we’ve seen in a while, Bazique delivered everything you could ask for from a festival. We’re seriously looking forward to watching this festival grow into one of Cape Town’s favourite festival experiences over the years to come.
Bazique 2019 takes place on March 15th to the 17th. Visit the event page for more information.
Images by Closure