The visionary ethos and surreal setting of Bill Knight’s Cottage Club make this exclusive stage a veritable work of art in its own right.
Situated in Kommetjie, a dramatically beautiful area where savage terrain cascades into a seething ocean, the Cottage Club is a blend of upmarket bohemia and mellow asceticism. The fact that its site also includes a small recording studio means that it is organically embedded in the production of Knight’s own music and that of others.
True to the intimate ethic of folk music, this cultural club is an extension of Knight’s own home and as such one can recline upon picturesque wooden benches and tables whilst relishing nourishing comforts in the form of homemade soup and bread. During performances the eye lingers on the décor, much of it viscerally inspired by the music industry, and this is not surprising given the countless well-known artists who have performed at the venue such as Tony Cox and Guy Buttery.
In winter, the Cottage is an enchanted coterie in which to hibernate aside a roasting fire, but I was fortunate enough to attend a gig in the molten core of the Cape summer. An idyllic spot at which to absorb the nuances of the coastal twilight, I relaxed and kicked off my shoes as the sun tumbled and set into the opulent, dark sea.
The Club is renowned for its cult following and the fact that it can only house around thirty people means that tickets are much sought after. Whilst the modest size of the venue and fidelity of Knight’s fan base add to the immanence of the acoustic performances, one hopes that this will not prevent it from attracting new attention amongst urban music-enthusiasts and imaginative cliques.
It is only once one wrests oneself away from the tussle of city life that one fully appreciates the vital impact that venue has upon the delivery and performance of live music. This is especially true of local folk songs which are perhaps best encountered in the uncultivated, fierce scenery of the Kommetjie landscape. In addition to the Cottage’s exceptional shows, the laid-back clientele, warm hosts and tranquil atmosphere mean that it is a great place to meet like-minded friends, mingle and spill into the garden by night.
A self-professed NGO and cultural forum, the non-commercialism of the Cottage Club is mirrored in its continual ability to welcome artists of musical integrity and eccentric virtuoso. One can only applaud Bill Knight for providing a unique platform upon which local talent can glisten and excel.
Read our venue info on the Cottage Club here