Interview | Plus1 Festival Founders: Greg Lipton and Juanne-Pierre De Abreu


Plus1 Festival – Art Marries Music, Save The Date!

Plus1 Festival – Art Marries Music, is around the corner and has us waiting in anticipation for the festival gates to open. Set to take place at the picturesque wedding venue of La Paris in Franschhoek, Plus1 Festival is the brain/love child of partners Greg Lipton and Juanne-Pierre De Abreu. We decided to have a chat with the owners and creators to get the inside scoop of this upcoming and enigmatic festival.

MCBN: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, you both seem like you run hectic schedules. Tell us a bit more about yourselves, where are you both from and what do you do?  

JP: I’ve always got time for MCBN. I grew up in the east of JHB but have lived in Cape Town for 10 years now. I am an artist, meaning I keep changing what I do to suit where I’m at. Right now it’s all about Plus1 art, artists, and installations.

G: I am currently living in Joburg and Cape Town, as I begin a strategic move to the Mother City this year. I have lived in Jozi my whole life, and feel like it is time to move to my favourite city in the world. I have been involved in various aspects of the Marketing industry for the last 15 years, and have been lucky enough to follow my passion and turn events into experiences, ideas into realities.

MCBN: Would you consider yourselves as being “up to date” with the events scene both local and abroad? And if so what are some of your favourite events?

JP: Fairly. I like to keep my eye out for what’s new. And I like to live in the present. At the moment I’m keeping my eyes on what happened at WolfKop Weekender, and the upcoming Lighthouse festival, and just returned from Little Gig, which was pretty amazing!

G: You have to be on top of what is happening, what’s new and cool. My creative and production teams have done a lot of research… and Coachella, Into the Woods, Little Gig, and AfrikaBurn speak to me on a spiritual level. We have been developing the Plus 1 concept for just over a year.

As our Plus1 concept evolved, we took some time studying what they and others like Rocking the Daisies and WolfKop had done, what made them inviting, what was it about the experience that captured most guests imaginations… and worked on creating something that has the best qualities of each infused into a novel 3-day experience bursting with all different kinds of love for Art, soundtracked to great Music

Juanne introduced me to Festivals about 5 years ago, and I introduced him to Glamping, the rest is history…

Over the years we have visited a few, some locally and thankfully a few international festivals in London, Barcelona and Cannes too. We have also been to some of the best clubs in Amsterdam, Paris and Ibiza, and about a year ago we felt we had a solid concept for our Plus1 themed Festival of Love to come to life…

MCBN: Take us through the conceptualization of Plus1 Festival. How and when did the idea to host such an eclectic event come about and how did you choose the name?  

JP: On every wedding invite there is a mention of a Plus1 and with a wedding as our over theme we figured Plus1 embodied more aspects about love than just the traditional romantic sense. It’s ideally a party partner. The idea for the festival started a long time ago when we wanted to do something that we would personally consider romantic. I prefer my romance a bit more high energy and a little less dinner by candle light. Something to do on Valentine’s Day that was exciting and didn’t feel like a chore. Over time the right opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it and here we are.

G: I was working on New Year’s eve 2015/6 at the Vilakazi Street Festival in Soweto and Juanne was at Kinky Summer at La Paris… when he called to wish me Happy New Year, he also told me he had found the perfect spot for us to get married! Imagine my amazement, when a few days later, I got to see it for myself and realised he was so right, it wasn’t a beer induced haze, but actually one of the most beautiful settings I had ever seen… As an event professional my mind started racing!

We had previously discussed eloping quietly, and even a small something on a beach or on a river bend… but it didn’t feel like us… the desire to share our celebration with so many special people we have met over the years, made it feel like we needed to do something original and exhilarating!

MCBN: Let’s talk more about the theme for Plus1- Art Marries Music. In what ways will the event carry through this theme of unifying Art and Music throughout the 3 days?

JP: Personally I feel most festivals embody aspects of art and music but the key word for Plus1 is “Marries”. We figured the most romantic aspect of most people’s lives would be their wedding day so why not turn the entire tradition into a blown up festival. The purple weddings out in Afrikaburn always look like a vibe. And when I stare at them out in the desert I think to myself, ‘Yoh, that could be an entire festival on its own’. Can you imagine the dress up? Insanely beautiful.

G: Our wedding theme makes our festival experience novel, and come to life… We plan to marry a lot of the artistic elements during our Happily Ever After Party weekend with live performances by artists, bands, DJ and dancers. All in the month of love, strategically around Valentine’s Day, sharing their love for Art and Music, Nature and Lifestyle…

This fusion of Art and Music in a matrimonial way is a funky, fresh and quirky way to make our festival unique and stand out from the rest.

MCBN: A little bird told us that you two will actually be tying the knot at the event? If so, CONGRATULATIONS! Will festival goers be able to attend the ceremony? Where and when on the grounds will it take place?  Give us all the juicy details.

JP: Yes we are and thank you. Festival goers won’t be able to attend the ceremony because we’re having it in the rose garden on La Paris estate which can’t seat that many people. Plus I think the idea of so many strangers watching me do something so personal is a little daunting. But it’ll be at 10 am on Saturday. Hopefully, we start a tradition of people getting hitched at Plus1 Festival.

G: Thank you so much, we are really excited to be doing something different, we are far from traditionalists…  And can only hope that there are some other crazy, cool people out there that may want to get married at the next Plus1… Our actual ceremony is a private affair, however, the festivities are for everyone.

MCBN: We must say, we are very impressed with the line-up this year at Plus1. There’s quite a cool progression throughout the 3-day fest, starting with a Kinky Disco and ending with a pool party. Take us through the vibe you two are hoping to create.  

JP: Friday night is my stag night. So I want a salacious vibe, body painting, leather, dancing… sexy. Saturday is a blown up version of a wedding reception with many wedding singers, circus performers, food and champagne. A colourful carnival. Sunday I’m treating like that breakfast after a wedding, except this is around a dam, in a dam or on a dam (in a lilo). Sunshine and cocktails are how I like to soak in a fantastic party.

G: It’s all about a progressive journey, starting with FANTASY FRIDAY and a kinky and wild last night for freedom, moving through to CELEBRATORY SATURDAY as the actual celebration unfolds with our main acts taking our guests on a DJs to bands to DJs dance experience… And then SUNDAY FUNDAY is exactly that a picnic with our Vinyl Digz Take Over, a time to chillax around the dam and pool listening to some reinvented classics.   

MCBN: What do you hope festival goers take away with them after Plus1?

JP: Love. Romance. Hope.

G: Memories, and that warm fuzzy feeling deep inside!

MCBN: Are there any other cool events the two of you organise or are involved with?

JP: Neon Factory, a Cape Town art party. I ended 2016 off with three great parties at ERA nightclub for the spring edition of First Thursdays.

G: I helped Juanne with the Neon Factory events, and have brought international DJs Jose Padilla from Café Del Mar, Stephane Pompoungac from Hotel Costes and DJ Ravin from Buddha bar in the past… with plans to get more involved with public events again, been far too corporate for too long. And of course Plus1 2018, which is already in the planning.   

MCBN: Describe each other in 3 words.

JP: Kind, sedulous and stoic.

G: Talented, fun and real.

MCBN: Both describe your vision for Plus1 in 3 words.

JP: The artist’s mecca

G: Fun, fresh experience

MCBN: Lastly, what do you both have to say to all Plus1 Festival goers this year? What can they expect?

JP: It takes twenty years before something really begins to take the form of tradition but it all has to start somewhere. Let’s start that tradition together and take traditional wedding into the twenty-first century.

G: Come celebrate with us and share the love. Imagine escaping to a paradise bursting with creativity, where you can dress up and let your hair down, and get lost in the music and art, and really live a little!

get weird together

With that being said, 2017 has definitely gotten off to an amazing start for the events scene with some rather creative, bespoke and eclectic events coming into the game and Plus1 – Art Marries Music looks to be a heavy player in this division.  If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, best you be on it, cause we have. Meet you at the Alter!

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