Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kunstefees highlights

Writing this blog post is almost embarrassing. One: I only spent about one and a half days at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn. I probably have one of the least thorough assessments of this event in the history of ever ever. Two: there is way too much stuff going on. It's impossible to dictate all the cool things I did and saw in a mere 36 hours. So I offer you a few humble highlights so that I can at least rest easy in the knowledge that I made some sort of half-arsed effort at documenting my experiences.

First on my List of Cool Things™ is the music group Zamar, who deliver a sound which I shall simply describe as “gypsy music stuff”. I'm a bit of a musical heathen, so don't ask me for any proper definitions.

Tell me that this doesn't look gypsy. I dare you.

I first heard these guys while I was sitting in an Oudtshoorn cafe (sipping mineral water and pretending to be posh, of course). Their sound immediately grabbed me and I was moved to sit down and chat with them after their performance.

Zamar consists of a bunch of Stellenbosch students who decided to get together and make something a little different from the run-of-the-mill Afrikaans pop music and doof-doof-doof club sounds that have pretty much saturated the local market. They've been touring the country for some time now, building up a fan base and even winning awards for their performances at events like the KKNK. Not only are they different, but their lack of emphasis means that they're effectively language-neutral, so pretty much everybody can enjoy the music.

Also, they have a rad Website. Much respect to a group who knows the IT haxx.

Now, music aside: one of the main drawcards for the arts festival (in my opinion) was the open market filled with some of the most absolutely cool stuff in existence. And by that, I mean loads of awesome food. And super-cooled relaxation tents with built-in water sprays.

It was pretty funny when they switched the valves to the “knockout gas” setting.

But seriously, you find some recipes in all this madness which are probably unique to the festival: stuff like mint-flavoured nougat, mint-flavoured pizza cones and mint-flavoured baby elephants. You know, the good stuff. I broke my noodle diet once again to sample some of these wares. It was glorious. Budget-killing, but glorious.

As it so happened, I was carrying my devil sticks around with me at the time (let's all say it together now: not a tool of Satan) and a little birdie told me that there was actually a stick juggler wandering around the KKNK market. I enthusiastically hunted said juggler down in the hopes that I could bump into El Rondo again.

I ended up running into another juggler instead. His name was Nico, he had a shop in Knysna and he recognised my sticks as El Rondo's work, so we sat down to chat for a little while. Our conversation brought to my attention the harsh reality of festival markets everywhere: if you're even a paltry two stalls down from the high-traffic paths, you're going to get screwed over for customers. A pity: I tried out some of the sticks myself, and they were pretty well-made.

Enough sticks to choke a giraffe. The moral: buy sticks, save giraffes.

In closing: I totally got to ride in a Toyota along an off-road hazard course.


Enough said. Post over.

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