Cape Town, June 2, 2019 – Cape Town’s coffee culture is being showcased at a weekend festival at the Castle of Good Hope. The international festival is taking place on the African continent for the very first time this year. Over 4,000 people are expected to roam the festival grounds with cups of free coffee.
NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on August 14, 2014.
Sitting on a black leather couch in a tent on a farm in Limpopo, 42-year-old singer-songwriter Chan Marshall – also known as Cat Power – shared some intimate details of her life.
Marshall had just come off stage after her first appearance at Oppikoppi on Saturday, a performance on the Bruilof stage that saw fans shout words of encouragement when the sound equipment was not working properly.
Between constantly apologising for the staccato nature of her performance, Marshall had to change the sound on the amplifier, sing into two microphones and figure out how to work a keyboard she had never played by herself – a visibly nerve-racking experience.
“I always have stage fright,” she says.
It’s a situation that’s not entirely foreign to Marshall, though in the past her erratic performances have been attributed to problems with alcohol and drugs. “People used to say ‘Oh, did you go see the train wreck?’” she says.
She does admit to having had a drug problem a while ago after her partner passed away.
“I chose it every day and I knew what I was doing every day. It wasn’t me being oblivious. I was riding that train because I couldn’t take the pain of losing the love of my life.”
Marshall wished the women in the audience a happy Women’s Day while on stage, and spoke about feminism afterwards.
“A lot of times women don’t have the simple, casual dignities that men have as their birthright,” she says.
“I’m called a feminist because I protect myself from someone else trying to get something from me,” she says.
Marshall’s latest album, Sun, was produced independently, using the singer’s life savings.
“I had to make a choice between what the label wanted me to do and what I knew I could do myself, and the album made the top 10,” she says.
She performed at the Baxter Concert Hall last week, a performance she had asked for in December when she came back after Nelson Mandela passed and she witnessed “social change” that inspired her.
Marshall intends to return to Cape Town next January to write about the experiences she has had in the city over the years.
Never in my life did I think I would have this much fun at an event that emanated from a religious practice.
I had wanted to attend from the minute I heard that Holi One (which later changed to We Are One) was coming to Johannesburg this year.
I had seen the Hindu colour festival on TV before and knew I had to do it at least once in my life.
I dragged my feet on getting tickets, which did not serve me well when they were sold out a few weeks before the event.
Luckily for me I know someone who knows someone and managed to get a ticket the day before.
Within in the first five minutes of walking into the venue some over eager festival go-er decided to throw some colour on me robbing me of the before picture I wanted to take.
15 000 people had bought tickets and those same 15 000 were on the grounds of Emmarentia Dam.
I imagined it would be chaotic but it really wasn’t. There were enough bars, food stalls and toilets to cater to everyone’s needs.
There was also ample space for people to move around. I never felt uncomfortable in the crowds.
The highlight of the day for me, were the colour throws that happened every hour. Being in the crowd when they happened was the reason we were all there in the first place.
When you threw your colour up into the air it felt like a New Year’s countdown. Then it felt like you were in the midst of a dessert battlefield as all the colours came down and their residue hung in the air.
The music was great throughout the day. Various DJ’s made our bodies move to their sounds. Goodluck were the headline act and ushered us into the night beautifully.
They also announced that due to the support this festival had received, the band would be travelling to Germany for a Holi One festival later this year.
The festivities started at 11am and were due to end at 8pm. By the time 7pm came around, my feet and legs were done in for.
Towards the same time, none of us looked colourful anymore, just dirty.
It took me a full 40 minute shower to scrub myself clean and an additional 20 minutes to clean all the contents of my handbag. By which time I was exhausted from the day’s events.
I only began to understand the “we are one” title by the end of the day, when we all looked the same.
Even though we were all covered in a rainbow of colours, we all looked the same and indeed were the same in that moment.