Monday, 5 November 2012

The Hangklip Rock Festival - a wedding fundraiser

(This is a bit of cheating - as it's the poster from the 1999 Festival)
The Hangklip Rock Festival - a wedding fundraiser
5 November 2012
It can be said that I’ve had a rather “unconventional” childhood.  I suppose, it started with my conception when my Mom was a mere 17 years old.  She was 18 and my dad was 19 when I was born – barely more than kids themselves, yet they loved each other with a passion (I suppose I’m proof positive) and decided to get married.  My grandparents bravely offered to adopt the baby (yip, that would be me), but my folks were adamant that they wanted to get married and be a family.  And boy were we a family.  A few years down the line I first gained a brother and then a sister and I can truly say that I had the happiest of childhoods.
My folks were loving, fair, honest, young, wacky and fun.  They literally grew up with us kids and my mom always said that I was the only adult in the house.  I remember being eight years old when we lived in a little town called Clanwilliam.  I used to wake up in the morning before everyone else, put Jungle Oats on the stove for breakfast for us kids, put the percolator on for coffee for my folks, wake the little kids up for school when breakfast was ready and then my folks with coffee in bed.  Apparently when I was seven years old, I used to get up for my baby sister in the middle of the night, change her nappy and give her a bottle.  I’ve obviously not trained my own kids very well.
I give this little background, not to blow my own horn, but to give you a bit of perspective and insight.  We were taught to be independent and lots of free-thinking was allowed and even encouraged.  As a teenager my parents had a way more active social life than me.  They were very involved with the Blues Broers and the music scene - gigging in Cape Town a few nights a week.  They knew all the hot spots and frequented them, well frequently.  They used to hang out at the Waterfront, The Brass Bell, The Green Dolphin, Bertie’s Landing, The Crow Bar, The Pumphouse as well as many other trendy night spots.  Where I spent nights in relative studious boredom, first finishing my schooling and then during varsity, they painted the town red.  And had a marvellous time doing so.
Hanging out with them was always awesome and we used to have loads of raucous fun jolling together.  They were quirky and hip and just so with it.  We kuier’d together.  I remember the four of us deciding to go to the Michael Jackson concert in Cape Town one night.  Despite not having tickets, my dad was convinced that we’d be able to get four off a ticket scalp with not too much hassle.  But despite our best intentions and deep seated desire, we couldn’t find affordable tickets at all.  So, instead we stood outside the stadium enjoying the music a bit and then giving up and deciding that standing outside was far too mundane, we made off for a few clubs and pubs and had our very own party instead.
When Grant and I decided to tie the knot the dilemma of the cost of a wedding was raised.  And though I wanted to wear a great Aunt’s beautiful wedding dress, saving costs in the process, as well as host the ceremony and reception at my grandparents’ house Cloetenberg, a wedding still cost a pretty pot of money.  We had a big family and lots of friends, so a small wedding would simply not do.  Added to that I was the eldest child as well as the eldest grandchild on both sides of the family, so really, small just would not work.  People would need to be fed.  We’d need odds and ends.  Drinks, the cost of a minister, invitations, tables and chairs to be rented, etc. etc. etc.
So, we put our heads together and a marvellous and ingenuous plot was hatched.  A rock/blues music concert would be hosted to raise some funds.  Excitement built fast and plans were set in motion.  Hangklip Hotel was chosen as the venue and the date was set for the 6th of January 1996.  A mere three months away from our wedding date.  A sponsor was obviously needed, so our friend Edgar, from Martell was contacted.  He came to the party so to speak, and was on board for our do.  Bands were recruited, security staff assembled.  Advertising kicked into high gear.  Stage, sound crew, the odd radio celeb.  Lights, stallers selling food, door staff and the like.  The Lombards pitched in like one man.  Posters were put up, t-shirts and sweaters were printed, numerous meetings were held, accommodation for band members as well as the myriad other details involved with a festival of this nature.
Luckily the experience was there, after arranging numerous Martell Blues Rock festivals, so resources were pooled.  Musicians were friends and had all gone through this process before.  Contracts were signed, fingers were crossed and the big day arrived.  And amidst dust, lots of drinking and loads of loud music, the masses arrived and our gig was a success.  The line-up included the Blues Broers of course, Squeal, Urban Creep, The Springbok Nude Girls, Just Ginger, Koos Kombuis and many more.
We miraculously reached our goal target of R10 000 after expenses.  A joyous occasion indeed.  And in order to celebrate our unparalleled success, with giddy relief, we spent a night in celebratory splendour at a local pub, toasting our good fortune with the liqueur/shooter of the moment.  A particularly vile concoction called Pampelmoes – a drink none of us enjoyed forever more after that evening again.
Our wedding was perfect and our costs were covered.  I suspect not many can tell a similar tale.  For how many others do you know who organised a rock concert in order to raise funds to get married?  I salute my entrepreneurial parents for their masterful plan.  For pulling it off and making an adventure out of possible adversity.  I long cherish the memory of all the planning it took.  The excitement and joy in pulling it off.  The immense feeling of pride in a successful and unique festival.  It set the stage so to speak for a formula that was repeated for years thereafter.  The Hangklip Rock Festival even became a bit of an institution.
Yip, my parents sure were one of a kind.  And I thank my lucky stars for them every single day.
I shall do a bit of hunting about as I know I’ve got some pics of the day and I’ll upload these, hopefully soon.


  1. Awesome !! U have a strange but wonderfully fun life !! A

  2. I was there Helene,you could by chocolate brownies,or chocolate greenies with extra herbs.

    What a jol ???


  3. I was definitely at one of them, but I think it may have been the 1999 one.... Yes, definitely, because Not My Dog was the loudest act I had ever heard in my life. Ahhh, those were the days of our lives! :)