After last year’s tours to Joburg, Cape Town and the big one in Grahamstown slap bang in the middle of the big freeze, I jokingly swore off touring in winter and promised myself I would stay in Durban for the majority of this year’s edition. The only problem is that the National Arts Festival last year was an experience I can’t resist doing all over again. And so, my Durbanness returns to be challenged to its core.
And guess what… it’s snowing already and it’s not even June yet. Last year I made a big fuss before I left about the fact that I hadn’t yet seen snow in my lifetime and that I was hoping to experience a first at my festival debut. I changed my mind half way through. It was more than cold enough without the snow! I’m sticking with the “anti-snow during the festival” policy. I’m dying to see the white stuff but following my trip to Hogsback last month, I’m even more convinced that Durban girls are just not cut out for real winters and am quite happy to wait for a non-touring holiday that doesn’t involve flyer drops, posters or trekking through a town with a giant piano on your back.
This year, the festival promises to be a little different to last year. Sure, it will be cold. That much I know. The crazy intense work levels will be the same, if not heightened. There are incredible shows that I wouldn’t miss if you paid me (that’s almost entirely true) and I can’t wait to laugh and cry and be moved all over again. My concerns with attendance after last year’s less-than-favourable outcome are still there, but knowing what I’m going into and having an idea of where I went wrong makes a big difference. I have a total of nine shows and some cool promo opportunities lined up to get the word out, so business wise there should at least be a marked improvement from last year. But there’s something else too.
A game changer for me this year is a guest appearance in another show which I’m thrilled to be featured in. Machitún, an outdoor spectacle involving flying acrobats, stilt walkers, fire and other craziness that I know will blow my mind, is a production from Argentina. A friend of mine runs an artistic exchange program between South Africa and Argentina called Proyecto 34°S and one of her many exciting projects is this production. When she called me up to feature on vocals, I couldn’t resist the opportunity and am super excited to work alongside Ernesto Romeo, live electronic music extraordinaire. Aside from what I’m certain will be an incredible experience, a very realistic advantage is that I’m shacking up with the cast and crew for the two weeks which saves me a huge amount of stress in terms of cost this year.
My Durbanness will just have to deal with two weeks of crazy cold ‘cause this festival is going to be off-the-hook cool.