New starting point

There will be a new starting point for the mass ride at this year’s South Coast Bike Fest and bikers will meet at St Michael’s Beach car park on Sunday, April 29 with the line-up starting at 8 am.

More than just a ‘jolly’ ride through the streets, it will also be in support of the non-profit organisation, 1-Million shoes.

 

This is a national shoe collection campaign, started in September 2016, which aims to donate 1-Million School Shoes to children in disadvantaged communities as a way to empower these schoolgoers and support them on their educational journey. This year the campaign is focusing on collecting 100 000 shoes, which will go towards the larger 1-Million initiative, in celebration of ‘100 years of Madiba’.

The NGO works closely with local charities and authorities to identify beneficiaries within the region of the donations. For the Mayoral Mass Charity Parade, all participating bikers and pillions are urged to bring a new pair of school shoes for donation, which the 1-Million School Shoes organisation will then collect and distribute at a later stage. Cash donations will also be welcome on the day.

Roleta Lebelo of the 1-Million School Shoes NGO says: “We are excited to be working with South Coast Bike Fest on this great campaign. The biking community is always receptive to charitable causes and we look forward to a successful partnership.”

Ray Nkonyeni Municipality’s Mayor Cynthia Mqwebu said they were excited to be supporting such a worthwhile initiative.

“For many children in rural communities, getting to and from school is an arduous process which involves long walks over difficult terrain. This is a big ask of our young people who are seeking an education, and to do this without shoes is just unbearable. We hope that, through this fundraising rally, we can make the lives of our local children easier and instil some well-deserved dignity.”

The starting point was chosen because it is such a great example of the beautiful beaches that make up this enticing coastline, popular with beachgoers and maritime sporting enthusiasts across the country and further afield.

The Mayoral Mass Charity Parade will officially set off at 10am, travelling north along Marine Drive, completing the circuit around Bazley Street, Connor Street, Reynolds Street, Nelson Mandela Drive, Aiken Street and heading back along Marine Drive with the finishing point at Margate.

The Mayoral Mass Charity Parade forms part of a much larger programme that will entice visitors to the South Coast Bike Fest. Attendees will get the chance to visit eight festival-themed bars, corporate dealership decks as well as 22 onsite clubs, pubs and restaurants catering to all interests and tastes. There is also a full line-up of more than 30 South African artists and a jam-packed entertainment programme, including:

•  Stunt shows and Powasol Enduro X in the Energy Zone Arena.

•  Top musical acts at the Jack Daniels Village Pier Rock Stage and Main Beach Stage.

•  Quality fashion shows and Miss South Coast Bike Fest™.

All bikers and pillions are urged to pre-register online for #freefunseeker tickets which gives free access to the entire event precinct including the main stage featuring all the headline artist performances.

All non-biking pedestrians will be charged a nominal fee of R60 per day which provides access to the main event precinct and entertainment areas within it.

For another R150, #fuelyourfun ticket holders can access the Budweiser Main Beach Stage Golden Circle.

Pre-registration for the biking community and limited pedestrian ticket sales are available at www.southcoastbikefest.co.za.

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Have one Bud

Main Stage music at this year’s South Coast Bike Fest that kicks off on April 27 in Margate will be sponsored by Budweiser.

“We are incredibly excited to have Budweiser featuring so prominently at this year’s South Coast Bike Fest,” says event organiser, Vicky Wentzel. “This vibrant festival is about bringing people together to celebrate shared passions and this sense of camaraderie speaks directly to the Budweiser brand. We look forward to this successful partnership and another fantastic South Coast Bike Fest which has now been infused with the elegant Budweiser flavour.”

Introduced to the South African market in 2017, Budweiser is already gaining a lot of traction across the nation because of its appealing flavour and quality taste.

Referred to as the ‘King of Beer’, the production of Budweiser ‘The Hard Way’ is the world’s most expensive brewery process, brewing the mixture twice as long as regular lager and aging it over beach wood chips resulting in a super smooth finish. Infusing 142 years of experience in beer brewing, Budweiser is now being produced locally, for the first time on the African continent, at the Rosslyn Brewery.

Festival-goers can look forward to include Goodluck, The Kiffness, Chunda Munki, MC Drumkit, Matthew Mole, Milano Singh, Karen Zoid, Springbok Nude Girls and Francois van Coke, among many others.

All bikers and pillions are urged to pre-register online for #freefunseeker tickets which gives free access to the entire event precinct including the main stage featuring all the headline artist performances.

All non-biking pedestrians will be charged a nominal fee of R60 per day which provides access to the event precinct. For another R150, #fuelyourfun ticket holders can access the Budweiser Main Beach Stage Golden Circle.

 

Do not miss this train

The gentle giant of Afrikaans rock is back with an unusually structured solo album. Piet Botha’s ‘Die Middernagtrein’ (The Midnight Train) is clearly a singular project even though the backing is provided by his regular cohorts from Jack Hammer.

It is also unusual in that all the songs have relatively few words but each one of those words is clearly supremely personal to Botha, and there is a vast range of complex emotions and feelings generated throughout each song and across the spectrum of the album.

It is not necessary to understand the words or know the meaning behind each song to be drawn into the emotion – and before this sounds like the whole package is music to commit suicide by, let us move on to the second part of the unusual.

The tracks themselves are not shortened by the words, and there is an ebb and flow of accoustic instrospection that builds to a head-banging rock crescendo with each track providing its own unique musical surprise.

Produced by Lanie van der Walt, who also adds his talent as a guitarist to that of Jacques Groenewald, Johnathan Martin, Gerry Robinson and the big man himself on his favourite accoustic guitar called Lucy or trademark pale blue Stratocaster.

Tertius du Plessis provides the bass with Paul van de Waal on drums and Leon van Zweel on saxophone.

“Hier gaan ons alweer
op daai middernagtrein
ek kry hom in Johannesburg
dan kry ek jou in Bloemfontein
vertel my dan van al jou drome
dan vertel ek jou van die hart van ‘n vrou…”

It is a showcase of the prodigious talent that is Piet Botha (and the rest of the guys) and deserves to be listened to again and again – very loud.

 

Beachfront to rock

There will some good rocking going down on Margate Beachfront Boulevard, KwaZulu Natal, from April 27 to April 30  as some of South Africa’s top acts keep visitors to the South Coast Bike Fest in the groove.

“The South Coast Bike Fest 2018 talented line-up has escalated to incorporate a reflective melting pot of genres and colourful array of artists,” says event organiser, Vicky Wentzel. “We have specifically created a rock element of hand-selected bands, voted in by the motorcycle fraternity that will keep the Jack Daniels Rock Stage rocking 12 hours a day throughout the festival. A tremendous amount of detail has been put into selecting a creative line-up across the programme because we truly care about every person who attends the event.”

This year, The Carling Black Label Main Beach Stage themes will change daily – opening with an Afrikaans rock session, moving towards the younger base of visitors on the Saturday, which includes big-name artists appearing at different festival venues, finishing off the set with a colourfes Bollywood vibe on the final day.

Organisers have also arranged for a third line-up of artists set to feature on the jazz and reggae decks. Add street busking, marching bands, street hip hop, dance and even acapella to the mix and this is truly a not-to-be-missed music festival.

The Jack Daniels Rock Stage and Carling Black Label Main Beach Stage will reverberate with the sounds of South Africa’s finest bands, singers and DJs. Among them are Belville-based Unit 11, a band whose rock with blues undertones has become synonymous with the Jack Daniels name countrywide. ‘Sleeze’ rockers, The Sinners, hail from Durban and find their hillbilly rock musical inspiration in Tarantino Films, card counting and hangovers.

Alternative rockers, The Color Blew combine talent and passion to create music that is fuelled by the moment and the audience will get a glimpse at local talent, Circle of Stones, a four-piece hard rock and blues band from the South Coast.

Bellville’s iconic frontman of Fokofpolisiekar and Van Coke Kartel – Francois Van Coke – will be performing a number of his hits including the poignant ballad,’ Toe Vind Ek Jou’. Another South African legend, Karen Zoid will prove why she earned the Best Female Artist title at the 2008 South African Music Awards (SAMAs). This Belgian-born Johannesburg local is considered by many to be South Africa’s ‘Queen of Rock’.

Also featuring at this star-studded event is Springbok Nude Girls, a group that started playing to university crowds in Stellenbosch before become national icons with hits including ‘Bubblegum on My Boots’ and ‘Blue Eyes’.

On Saturday afternoon, the Carling Black Label Main Beach Stage will welcome Doowap, a sound engineering graduate with a love for bass-driven music that emerged during her time on the underground music scene. SAMAs-nominated, Durban-born Kyle Deutsch – a chiropractor by trade – will take to the stage later that night, having recently performed as an opener for Justin Bieber alongside the Wolf Pack collective.

Other Saturday acts that are not to be missed include Aewon Wolf, Sketchy Bongo and Timo ODV, while Sunday keeps the beats going with a number of headline artists, among them Chunda Munki – the DJ and producer who also goes by the name Blayze Saunders.

Ramsgate local, Aden Hinds, will feature at the Carling Black Label Main Beach stage on Sunday night. Hinds is known as an insightful, melodic songwriter with a warm, distinctive voice which has taken him across the country and as far as India. He started his career as an informal mentee of legendary Syd Kitchen who had a profound influence on his musical style.

Another singer/songwriter making waves internationally is Fish Hoek-resident Matthew Mole who made South African chart history by becoming the first local artist to enter the iTunes album chart number one with his debut album, ‘The Home We Built’. He’ll showcase his international-level talent at the Carling Black Label Main Beach Stage on Sunday night. Following him will be Cape Town’s live electronic act, The Kiffness, with fellow Capetonian electronic trio, GoodLuck, set to get the crowd wild with their musical mayhem.

Those attending the Party on the Move will get to enjoy music by legendary DJs including DJ Fresh, DJ Bruce and Michael Zuma while those making it to the Midday Shandis Nton Nton will be entertained by Gagasi FM anchors – DJ LeSoul, Felix Hlophe and FlyMotion.

In addition to the musical acts, the South Coast Bike Fest has an action-packed line-up of entertainment, tasty cuisine, coastal bars and brilliant biking displays.

All bikers and pillions are urged to pre-register online for #freefunseeker tickets which gives free access to the entire event precinct including the main stage featuring all the headline artist performances.

All non-biking pedestrians will be charged a nominal fee of R60 per day which provides access to the event precinct including the three main beach festival stages, beachfront boulevard themed bars, street entertainment, demo rides, trader and expo zones, stunt shows, food courts, EnduroX staging arenas and all associated motorcycle enthusiast festival activations.

For another R150, #fuelyourfun ticket holders can access the Carling Black Label Main Beach Stage Golden Circle.

Pre-registration for the biking community and limited pedestrian ticket sales are available at www.southcoastbikefest.co.za.

#SCBF18

@scbikefest

@SCBikeFest

 

The old and the new

Things are revving up for for the second running of the South Coast Bike Fest – being held from April 27 to April 30 – in Margate with more than 60 000 visitors expected for the music, food and, of course, the motorcycles.

Some 50 pristine examples of classic motorcycles will be on display at the Classic Open Stand.

The event is presented by Ugu South Coast Tourism with endorsement and support from Ugu District and Ray Nkonyeni Municipalities. The South Coast Motorcycle and Car Club has once again agreed to lend its support to the show.

“We are really excited to be a part of the South Coast Bike Fest for a second consecutive year,” says Rod Thomas, chairman of the Classic Motorcycle Club of Natal. “It provides our club with a great opportunity to showcase what we do while also giving the public a chance to appreciate the beauty of these incredible machines.”

Although the categories are fairly fluid and tend to differ from country to country, there are essentially three biking terminologies used:

Veteran motorcycle – built before 1915

Vintage motorcycle – built before 1975

Classic motorcycle –  20 years or older

Collector and one of the founding members of the Motorcycle Club of Natal, Hank Raatgever, will be featuring two of his classic bikes at this year’s show (from a collection of about 20) – the 1931 Norton and either the 1929 AJS or 1961 Velocette.

“In 1965 I rode my Honda 150cc all the way from Rhodesia to Durban,” recalled the Gillitts resident. “I needed to have transport at university and I thought what better way to get the bike to Durban?”

A journey of just under 1 700 kilometres on a motorcycle sparked a love affair with the machines that has seen the electronics engineer acquire, fix and sell numerous classic bikes over the years.

“There is something about being in the open air, exposed to the elements with no visual restrictions that is just so freeing. It’s the closest thing I can get to flying,” he says “The South Coast Bike Fest is a great chance to expose the younger generations to the joys of the motorcycle.”

Raatgever’s Norton has been fixed up and ridden in several DJ Runs – the annual Durban to Johannesburg rallies – as has the AJS which he displayed last year. He acquired the Velocette a year ago and is hoping to have it in full working condition by April.

Fellow club member, Andrew Mather, has selected two beauties from his 35-strong motorcycle collection – the 1908 Triumph and the 1955 Sunbeam – to feature. Although he is kept busy with a full-time job as a civil engineer, the Durban North resident manages to find time to work on his classic bikes, sourcing parts online or crafting those where he can.

“The Triumph 1908 has limited suspension, no gear box and can only go one speed – maxing out at 30km/h,” explained Mather. “It’s not very practical to ride because you have to switch off the engine whenever you stop, and to start it again, you have to run alongside it until it fires!”

Despite it’s limitations, Mather managed to ride the Triumph 1908 in a Century Run – where the combined age of biker and bike must be at least 100 years – across 290 kilometres, taking 11,5 hours with Mather consuming four-and-a-half litres of water.

Mather also boasts the 1910, 1912 and 1914 Triumphs in his collection but has selected his father’s old motorcycle, the 1955 Sunbeam, to display.

“This was seen as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of motorcycles back in the day but it was a bit of a disaster because it was built with incompatible materials so most of them were scrapped.”

This bike was one of three motorcycles Mather brought with him from Malawi in 1981 when his family emigrated to South Africa, the other two – a 1955 AJS and 1952 BSA – are still in his possession.

The 2018 edition is set to build on the success of 2017 with an even more action-packed line-up of entertainment, tasty cuisine, coastal bars and brilliant biking displays. Some of the highlights include:

  • Stunt shows and Powasol Enduro X in the Energy Zone Arena.
  • Top musical acts at the Jack Daniels Village Pier Rock Stage and Main Beach Stage.
  • Quality fashion shows and Miss South Coast Bike Fest™.
  • A range of food options in the pop-up food villages.
  • A selection of seaside bars.
  • Various parades and outrides including the mass ride.

All bikers and pillions are urged to pre-register online for #freefunseeker tickets which gives free access to the entire event precinct including the main stage featuring all the headline artist performances.

All non-biking pedestrians will be charged a nominal fee of R60 a day, which provides access to the event precinct including the three main beach festival stages, beachfront boulevard themed bars, street entertainment, demo rides, trader and expo zones, stunt shows, food courts, EnduroX staging arenas and all associated motorcycle enthusiast festival activations. For another R150, #fuelyourfun ticket holders can access the Main Beach Stage Golden Circle.

@scbikefest @SCBikeFest @sagmj

 

Images: Justin Klusener & Colin Windell

Sound sense

What do you do when you are a successful business person and have a passion for music? You get a B Hons in music and build a recording studio.

At least, that is the route taken by Port Shepstone, KZN engineer Thulani Bhengu (40) who is currently building a cutting edge studio facility on the site of an old house in Southport – a small village just north of Port Shepstone and in the heart of the Hibiscus Coast.

An integral part of the studio complex is a five-bedroom Bed & Breakfast accommodation setup for musicians recording at the facility.

The studio – as yet unnamed – will feature state of the art recording equipment plus separate sound booths for the various instruments and will be totally soundproof and inaudible to the nearby residents.

“I will probably involve a couple of local schools in a competition to design the logo and name the studio,” says Bhengu. “The winning school will get a cash prize for its art department.”

The affable young entrepreneur was born and bred in the Gamalakhe township near Margate on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal and, post school, went on to study engineering and then to form the civil engineering company Ngcolosi Consulting Engineers.

“With the business up and running nicely, about six years ago I decided I could indulge my passion for music,” he says. “I took piano lessons and this went well. I am now in the midst of exams for my Music BA Hons through a university in England.

“During the earlier years I helped a number of young local musicians by sponsoring studio time for them and this grew to the point I installed a small recording studio at my home. However, a combination of musician hours and time in the studio started interfering with family life.

“This cemented my decision to create a stand alone studio.”

Bhengu explains the decision to incorporate the accommodation suites was based on experience with musicians.

“Travel for many of these people is a major problem and so much valuable time is wasted if they have come from far afield each day. Also, between leaving the studio on one day, going home and maybe going out for a few beers with friends, there is a detectable change in voice tone by the following day.

“It will be much better to contain them on site to maximise studio time and to try and eliminate the kind of changes I mentioned.”

The recording studio is 150 square metres in size and has individual sound booths plus the engineer’s control room, which will be kitted with the latest generation recording facilities sourced from England.

The studio itself has been designed by Johannesburg-based sound specialist, Harry Timmerman from 4th Dimension and, besides the soundproof cladding one would expect, features double width air-gapped walls to prevent any sound creep inside the facility or any leakage to the neighbourhood.

Even in its current state of ‘undress’ a handclap anywhere in the studio precinct produces no echo!

“The specification for the studio and the equipment being installed can be compared to that used by the giant studios overseas such as Sony BMG and Lucas Films,” says Timmerman, who is a THX certified audio engineer.

“The backbone of the recording desk will be Pro Tools, while the Playback Suite will conform to full Auro standard with 32 speakers, so the artists can hear every minor nuance of their work and become wholly immersed in the sound. There are only a handful of studios worldwide that have this specification and this a first for South Africa.

“The smallest sound booth is 7,8 square metres and we are using Miller and Kreiselle speakers throughout – the same speakers used in the creation of the soundtracks for movies such as Pearl Harbour, Gladiator, Jurassic Park and Star Wars.”

A resident full-time sound engineer will be employed to operate the equipment but Bhengu says artists are more than welcome to bring with their own producers to work with the engineer during the recordings.

Significantly, studio time in Southport will be around a quarter of the cost of time in a Johannesburg studio, making it that much more accessible to young and upcoming artists.

“We intend to be as flexible as possible,” said Bhengu. “Many young musicians just want to get one or two tracks recorded professionally they can use for promotional purposes and possible radio play while they build a following that would justify going into studio to record an entire album.

“We need to make it as easy as possible for them to do that. At the same time, the lower cost we hope will attract top line and well-known artists to the venue and we would also love to see some foreign artists taking advantage of our lovely sunshine, the beautiful South Coast and the value of the Rand to record here.”

So, why Southport?

Bhengu chuckles and explains: “I bought the house eight years ago and wanted to have the zoning changed so I could move my office there. However, my staff was so against the idea I ended up renting it out as house for a few years.

“When the idea for a recording studio took hold, it was the ideal venue. I approached all the neighbours and we submitted the plans and proposals to the Council. Nobody was opposed to the idea as long as we could guarantee the studio would be soundproof.

“All the nearby residents have been very supportive of the project – which I hope will be complete by December of this year.”

Local resident and drummer for The Sound Dogs, Mike Linten says many local musicians are likely to benefit from the facility and that it will be a long-term gain for tourism in the area.

 

Wake Up to the Frost

Telling someone “to catch a wake up” is usually dismissive of their abilities, intentions or a combination of both. Telling yourself, on the other hand, is motivational – exactly what Albert Frost has done with his new album, ‘The Wake Up’.

The legendary (well, in the circles I like to move in) blues guitarist is in a state as we chat backstage at The Barnyard in Umhlanga before the live launch of the album to a Durban audience. He is, quite frankly, terrified and this is palpably obvious in the body language, but it is the eyes that are really telling the tale.

There is so much excitement in those eyes, so much belief in what is to come….

“Some of the ideas included in the album go back 20 years,” he says. “However, most of it has really happened in the last year.”

Back in the 90’s when just 15, he joined the Blue Broers as guitarist – in itself an interesting mix as his father, Frank Frost was the drummer. Sadly, Frank died in 1999 and it was nearly the end for the band that used to rattle the pipes in The Pump House on Cape Town’s Waterfront.

Fortunately the band recovered and Albert grew in the role to become one of the country’s leading blues players. He also expanded his own horizones and has worked with the likes of Arno Carstens, Koos Kombuis and Vusi Mahlasela as well as being a regular member of Riders From the Storm with Mel Botes, Nathan Smith, Piet Botha and Valiant Swart.

He has shared stages with The Rolling Stones, R.E.M. and Simple Minds and performed for Nelson Mandela. Alongside Arno Carstens, he shared the stage with Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and the Pixies.

He’s played all major festivals in South Africa as well as having had the honour of performing solo at the famed Isle Of Wight festival, where he also did a collaboration with James Walsh from ‘Starsailor’.

Some months ago he announced his decision to quit the Blues Broers permanently.

“It really was a hard choice, but I needed to finish The Wake Up and I needed to have no commitments that would interefere with the writing and recording,” he says. “I love the blues, I will always love the blues, but I needed to exand musically out of that niche and The Wake Up is a mixture of things and influences from pure rock to West African sounds, accoustic to electric and all stops in between.

“I needed to be more than just a lead guitarist and this is me ‘coming out’ as a singer and songwriter as well.”

Frost is joined on the album by Jonno Sweetman on drums and Schalk Joubert on bass – for the live launch augmented by Peter Mitchell on accoustic guitar and backing vocals.

 

“The whole album is self-funded from the recording through to sales and marketing. The good thing is I had total control over the production, which I co-produced with Albert Meinjties and recorded at VH Studios – and I am extremely happy with the result.”

Like Shotgun Tori, Piet Botha  and so many other local musicians he spends months on the road playing small and larger venues, festivals and country shows with little or no support from the industry at large or from radio stations, these tours involving moving, setting up and taking down their own equipment and most often all on the same night before hitting the road again.

Getting industry support is a problem going back to the ‘50s. Simply, the return on investment for the record companies comes from sales volumes and by far the largest music buying audience in the country wanted its own from township jazz to the more modern hiphop/kwaito tastes.

At the other end of music spectrum it really was only the ‘vanilla’ pop artists such as The Dealians, 4 Jacks & a Jill, The Bats, Steve Hofmeyer and the like who could generate enough volume to make it worth coughing up for studio time. Mango Groove and PJ Powers both managed to stretch their music across all spectrums and were value for money.

Make no mistake, the local record industry has never been a ‘supporter’ of local music – they’re in it for the money.

Back then there was LM Radio that was prepared to push musical boundaries (when SABC banned all play of The Beatles) and post LM came Capital Radio. Today, the national stations have morphed into an androgenuous mass pumping out insipid music – gone are the adventurous DJ’s such as Chris Prior, Leon Economides and Gavin Buckle, to name but a few.

True, they are all around on streaming radio and even LM Radio has made a comeback – but it is national airplay that generates interest, motivates sales and convinces corporate execs to spend the money on new local talent.

Sure, some less than mainstream artists did make records on the corporate dollar – Otis Waygood Blues Band, Hawk, Freedom’s Childrem, Sugadrive and Baxtop….Oh! and not to forget Rabbitt. However, these remain a few and most did not get the airplay support they needed either.

Imagine, even now, a radio DJ daring to announce a new song by Fokofpoliesiekar!

So, musicians like Albert Frost remain dedicated to their craft – and it is not surpising he is so thrilled with being able to control the end result of his work.

The Wake Up is 11 songs – some he wrote himself and some with Albert Meintjies, Hunter Kennedy and one with Simon Orange. Two he co-wrote with the man he rates as the finest guitarist in the country – his brother-in-law and fellow musician, Robin Auld.

Songs are very often stories and the tracks on The Wake Up are just that – stories from Albert Frost’s perspective that need to be heard. Tales of love, life, record companies or just being ‘Outside’ ‘Tonight’ in the ‘Summer Rain’ enjoying a ‘Modern Romance’ before ‘The Wake Up’ and ‘Leaving Town’, back ‘Against The Wall’ at ‘Sunrise’ with the ‘Morning Pages’ fluttering in the breeze as this place is ‘Home No More’ but we’re still ‘Together’

.