Fête de la Melville

Yesterday there was a festival in Melville called Fête de la Musique. Fête de la Musique, a free festival that brings music to public spaces and gives exposure to both professional and amateur musicians, takes place in more than 100 countries. This was the first fête to hit Melville.

Local band The Brother Moves On marches down 7th Street during the Fête de la Musique.

But this post isn’t really about the fête. It’s about Melville. My affection for Melville is no secret — I’ve written about it before. But I spent a lot of time on the streets of Melville this weekend and even I’m surprised by how cool it’s becoming. New shops and restaurants are opening on 7th Street. The vibe is edgy and friendly and not at all threatening, even late at night.

Fête de la Musique is a good illustration of where Melville is going. Several Melville residents were upset about the fête when it was first announced, and circulated a petition trying to stop it. They were worried about noise and crime and public drunkenness. And apparently, from what I’ve been told, the petitioners might have had a point a few years ago. But yesterday I saw nothing but people having fun — shopping, eating, dancing, and listening to great music. Here are a few pictures.

A talented group of school children.

Customers spill onto the sidewalk outside Café Mexicho. 7th Street, as well as sections of the intersecting avenues, were pedestrianized for the festival. By the way, yesterday was one of the most beautiful days of the year. Sunny and warm with not a cloud in the sky.

Kader (left) and Mustapha (right), owners of the IT Corner, show off their newly renovated shop. The new IT Corner, re-opened just in time for the fête, doubled in size and has a whole new style, while keeping the same buzz it had before.

The best band I saw was The Fantastique Guys, who performed at the IT Corner. Their sound is an interesting mix of Africa and Latin America. It was hot and crowded in there but I’ve never seen an audience have so much fun.

Lead singer of The Fantastique Guys.

One of the empty retail spaces on 7th St. was converted into a gallery for local Melville artists on Saturday. The guy in the middle is Samuel, one of my favorite Melville “bead guys”. He painted the picture to his left.

There are new shops all over Melville, several of which opened just in time for the fête. My favorite new place is Cargo Kilts. The name and photo say it all.  I know these kilts are made for men but I kind of want one for myself.

[CORRECTION: I’ve been informed that the kilts are unisex, and women’s mini kilts are also available. I’ve been invited to come in for a measurement…Sounds like a cargo kilt blog post is imminent.]

More gentlemen of Cargo Kilts. Just because.

Melville is rising. And it has kilts. I’m lucky to live here.

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  • Reply Gail Scott McDonnell Wilson July 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    So sorry I missed this – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply 2summers July 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      My pleasure. Hopefully it will be back next year.

      • Reply Cllr Amanda Forsythe July 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

        Thanks for this wonderful review of the Fete de la Musique and of Melville. We have every intention of holding it again next year and the year after next, and also putting on some more events like a Christmas market at the end of November/beginning of December, the poetry festival in october, etc.
        Best regards,
        Councillor Amanda Forsythe
        (Cllr for Melville)

        • Reply 2summers July 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

          Thanks so much, Amanda! Looking forward to it.

  • Reply rashida & hady July 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks Heather for bringing the festival to those of who wished we could have been there. The photos are stunning and atmospheric. Could hear the music and sounds and feel the sunshine. Definitely have to explore more of Melville on the next visit. xx

    • Reply 2summers July 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thanks Rashida. It’s the place to be, for sure.

  • Reply chuckv88 July 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I’m going to put a link to yours into mine about the same subject. Your pics are more ‘behind the scenes’ but you did get ‘the vibe’.

    • Reply 2summers July 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Yeah, I had trouble getting good pics of the actual festival stuff happening on the street. Photographing large crowds is hard and there were lots of shadows. Anyway, thanks!

  • Reply jackie hulme July 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    love it – I would have also loved the fantastique guys. the kilt shop is intriguing indeed – I think I need to hang out there to see if any Sean Connery’s come by …..

    • Reply 2summers July 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Haha. Gotta love a man in a kilt.

  • Reply Tenney July 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Love the shot of the two kilted dudes in the doorway

    • Reply 2summers July 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

      I like that one too — glad you agree.

  • Reply Jeroen July 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, so good to see Melville breathing new life. Kilts, huh. It seemed to be on the way down after the 2010 football when a bunch of restaurants closed and remained empty. If Rose at the Hamish hairdressers is still there, say hi!

    • Reply 2summers July 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Yes, Rose is still there! I will tell her.

  • Reply rossG July 2, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Great pictures,as always,enjoyed the festival and your post.Have a great week,regards rossG

  • Reply Sean McClymont July 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    No Sean Connery yet, but we do have a Sean McClymont…

  • Reply Sine July 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Great post, once again. Will post it on the Joburg Expat FB page so people moving to Joburg can see when going on their house hunting trips!

  • Reply Thabang June 3, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Thank you for the beautiful review. I loved every bit of it.

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