Conceptualized as a celebration of music, absurdism and the arts, Bazique Festival’s careful attention to detail made for a truly uplifting weekend of romp and revelry.
Despite being the first of its kind, the festival operated exceptionally smoothly, sporting six beautiful stages and a smattering of weird and wonderful sculptures, live street art and dance-offs, art cars and interactive performance art. A huge variety of music styles were on offer in Baziqueland – guests could listen to live Hip Hop on the main stage and then meander down the sandy slopes to see a fire-dancer grooving in the moonlight, or dance to tech-house beats by the lake while a graffiti artist beautified the blank canvas beside the dance floor.
Six South African ‘Party Architects’ were invited to curate each of the stages, resulting in a consistently high-energy lineup at all locations. The geography of the grounds, in combination with cleverly arranged stages, isolated each of the locations. The most impressive of the six stages was the beautiful Protea where dancers could look up at an intricate arrangement of colour, mirrors and lights paying homage to our national flower. The Frisky Disco flashed with multi-coloured neon lights after dark and housed my favourite stage where DJ’s played the latest underground danceable tracks until the early hours (special mention to K-$).
Invizable’s project, Champions of the Sonaverse, brought reggae, hard rock, drum and bass and African soul together in a mystical mix of performance art and sound in some of the most inventive costumes I have ever seen. PHFAT’s high energy, genre-blurring set featured Mikhaela Faye, a jazz singer with an effortless velvety voice, elevating the performance and securing its place as one of my highlights of the weekend. International headliner and electronic crossover act Foreign Beggars gave the audience a selection of slick and surprising tracks from throughout their longstanding career.
The combination of innovative stage design, art installations and performance art accompanying the music made for an immersive experience that was a world unto itself. The thoughtfulness behind it all made this an easy festival to love, from the food vendors – which included Jack Rabbit serving up the juiciest burgers and truffle mayo fries – to the easy infrastructure of the camping villages, where stretch tents were set up to create sheltered hubs around which to set up camp.
Watching street art take shape, walking among fire dancers and dancing to innovative tunes makes for an inspiring weekend. A quiet moment surveying the huge grounds from a hammock beneath the trees had me slow down and really revel in this boldly unique festival experience. I’m quite sure no one left Baziqueland without an increased sense of wonder.
Mischa Ruby Fisher
Bazique Festival took place from 16 to 18 March 2018 at Elgin Grabouw Country Club.