Joburg City Fest: Beer, Bright Lights and BCUC

The Joburg City Festival started two days ago and I’m already behind. There are at least half a dozen awesome events every day — I can’t do it all while also finding time to tell you about it. I’ve taken thousands of pictures already.

Jozi from Randlords

Nightfall at Randlords Sunday evening. I have a few hundred more shots like this.

I’ll start by telling you about my weekend experiences and catch up on the rest later.

Technically the festival began Sunday, but there were some pre-festival events the day before. My Joburg City Festival experience started on Saturday afternoon, at a craft beer festival hosted by the Lamunu Restaurant and Bar in Braamfontein.

The Lamunu is attached to the Easy Hotel, in a complex called the Grove on Melle Street. The beer festival was set up in the Grove under the giant TV.

The Grove

People gather in the Grove at the start of the beer fest. Nice publicity for the Joburg City Festival on the big screen.

When I moved to South Africa three years ago there seemed to be virtually no local craft beer available in this country. These days it’s popping up everywhere, which is great.

There were three local choices on tap at Saturday’s festival. To my delight, one of the beers on tap was ginger beer. I love ginger beer but had never tried an alcoholic version before.

Ginger beer

Preparing to  drink my first Dragon Fiery Ginger Beer, poured by Richard and Dillon of the Tap Room. I loved it.

My two friends and I enjoyed our beer “appetizers”, then went inside the Lamunu to try out the restaurant’s craft beer pairing menu. There are three special entrees on the menu, each of which comes with a recommended beer pairing. The meals range from R100 to R120, including a large beer.

Beer toast

Beer toast with Johnson and Anita. My meal was paired with the “Press Club Stout”, which, to my surprise, I enjoyed. (Disclaimer: We took a cab to avoid drinking and driving. I never realized before that a cab ride from Melville to Braamfontein is only about R50 each way. Good deal for three people.)

Lamunu lasagne

My entree: Wild mushroom and braai pap lasagne. I tend to love anything made with pap and this meal was no exception.

If you’re feeling envious right now, don’t despair. The Lamunu Craft Beer Festival is running next weekend too, on 30 and 31 August from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. And the Lamunu beer pairing menu is available for this entire week. Get down there.

After my beer-filled Saturday afternoon, I went home early to rest up for Sunday.

I kicked off my first official festival day at Cramer’s Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in the inner city, at the corner of Main Street and Harrison Street. (Check out a very old 2Summers post about my first visit to this part of town.) Cramer’s was hosting an afternoon of poetry, performance art, and philosophical discussions. But most importantly, there were cupcakes.

Cramers cupcakes

New Cramer’s cupcakes, unveiled for the Joburg City Festival. I sampled the red velvet one and found it very satisfactory, especially the cream cheese icing.

The Funeral

Avant-garde performance art — a dramatic play called “The Funeral” — on the street outside Cramer’s, beneath the giant mega-bank buildings. I didn’t totally “get” The Funeral but loved the experience and fanfare.

From Cramer’s I was off to the grand finale of the weekend: Balcony TV at Randlords.

Balcony TV is an international live music phenomenon, in which bands perform from various balconies around the world and are streamed live on the internet. Randlords is Joburg’s most beautiful and exclusive rooftop.

Newton's Second Law

A band called Newton’s 2nd Law performs at Randlords.

I’d been looking forward to Balcony TV all week. Two of my favorite South African musical acts — BCUC and Jeremy Loops — were performing.

heather erin

My friend Erin and me at the beginning of Balcony TV. I know I look drunk but really I am just excited. (Photo: Erin Archer)

Randlords sunset

One heck of a Randlords sunset.

BCUC and Jeremy Loops were the last two bands of the evening. I’ve written about Jeremy Loops before, in my posts about the Bush Fire Festival and OppiKoppi, and I wrote about BCUC in my post about the Hillbrow Boxing Club fundraiser. So I won’t bore you with too much more narrative.

BCUC and friends

Three members of BCUC (Jovi, the lead singer, is the guy in the middle) with my friends Henrike (left) and Lungi (right). My friends and I are BCUC groupies.

Crazy Randlords light

Artsy (and totally accidental) shot of Jeremy Loops setting up in the freezing cold.

Jeremy Loops behind stage

Jeremy Loops takes the stage.

Jeremy Loops and crowd

Jeremy is popular with the ladies.

I’ve saved the BCUC pics for last. Watching BCUC is a sacred experience. Their music makes something explode inside of me. Apologies for the fuzziness but it’s hard to take good photos while jumping and screaming like a banshee. (By the way, sorry to all the people around me who got whacked with my camera bag during BCUC’s set.)

BCUC finale

Jovi and KB

BCUC and Lungi

The look on Lungi’s face sums it up.

There you have it — my first Joburg City Festival weekend. Sorry this post was so long but I had a lot of fun to tell you about.

The festival runs through next Sunday so there is plenty of time to join the fun. Click here to learn more.

Browse all of my Joburg City Festival posts.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Gail Wilson August 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

    So sorry I missed the Randlords experience, it appears that you all had such fun.

    • Reply 2summers August 27, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Yes, it was great Gail!

  • Reply Timmee August 27, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Awesome! So sad to have missed BCUC.

    • Reply 2summers August 27, 2013 at 11:37 am

      BCUC missed you too, Timmee. And so did I. 🙂

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough August 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Sounds like fun, Heather! And, those cupcakes look incredible. I wonder how much things cost in dollars, as well. I don’t know the conversion rate. Glad you had a great weekend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers August 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Sorry Kathy, I’ve gotten lazy about my currency conversions! The rand is about 10:1 to the dollar at the moment (it’s weakened drastically in recent months). So R50 is about $5.

  • Reply Mamodise August 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    BCUC was AMAZING!!!

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