Mango Groove at Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts: Review


If you’ve ever been in Cape Town during the Summer you’d know about a weekly activity that takes place on a Sunday at the absolutely majestic Kirstenbosch Gardens called the Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concerts. The basic vibe is that you spend a day picnicing in the sun and then are treated to a different top act/band every week while the sun sets behind you. Very epic, very Cape Town.

I went for my first Summer concert of the season to see the legendary Mango Groove play. To be honest I wouldnt call myself an ardent fan but I dont really know of many people that dont have the greatest deal of respect for Mango Groove and what they did for uniting South Africa in the early days of our democracy. It was the first time they had played at K’bosch in 14 years and I was a touch worried that all those years away from performing in the public eye would leave them brittle boned and sounding like dead cats.

Thankfully, this was not the case! Mrs Johnston (she’s married to one of the guitarists in the band) and the rest of Mango Groove impressed the pants off me with the quality of their performance. I felt quite honoured to have the opportunity to here some of their old tunes which had that vibrant “township” sound with the most impeccable use of a penny-whistle that I have ever heard. The new stuff that they performed was pretty cool as well and I sang along everywhere that I actually knew any words and was super stoked when they ended off their set with the classic “Special Star”.

They got the entire Kirstenbosch standing up and jamming along to their tunes in what can only be described as a rather touching and special moment- everyone was vibing together regardless of colour and creed- just such a good advert for what unity in South Africa… it’d be nice if this is how things really are in SA post World Cup!

Now onto the organisation of the event. K’bosch had ample security and medical support at the concert as well as enough toilets and a boerie roll stand for all those that didnt pack a picnic basket for the day but they did fail on an absolutely collosal level when it came to access into the venue.

You are only allowed to access the concert area of the gardens from 4pm onwards and this caused quite a bottle neck of people trying to get inside. Huge FAIL. I waited for like 20 minutes in the q (I know, MyCityByNight doesnt do queues!) and then when we finally got to the front we were told that we had to exchange our webtickets for “real” ones from the front desk. Sooooo stupid!!! Anyways we finally got in & then went to join some savy peeps who had secured us a lakka spot right in the front.

So my advice to anyone going to check out one of concerts is to go early and then queue outside just before 4pm to make sure you get a sick spot.

See you there for Civil Twilight later this month (my next visit)…Woop woop for the picnic vibes of Summer 🙂

Im a guy with a very particular view of life... im not quite sure what that view is just yet, but when I find out I'll be sure to let you know...

Comments 2

  1. Thanks for the great review!

    Just some clarification on the gate issue:

    We understand that some people don’t like waiting in queues outside the concert area before 4pm, but this is unfortunately inevitable. The band does a sound check until 4pm, and no band of Mango Groove’s caliber will do this in front of an audience.

    And yes, Webtickets print-outs (tickets that were purchased online) have to be redeemed for real tickets at one of the ticket offices, but this is clearly stated on the print-out;-)

    Sarah Struys, – Event Manager, Kirstenbosch

    1. Hey Sarah! Thanks for popping in- i totally understood the logic behind the closing the venue till 4, the bands have to get their story together… I’m just hoping that getting into the venue is a bit quicker next time- maybe make the entrance wider or have more of those officials getting peeps inside.

      I think that maybe some of those tickets should be kept at the concert gardens gate for silly people like me who cant follow instructions 😉

      Otherwise it was a top event- we’re very stoked to come & check out some of the others over the course of the summer season! Good job!!! 🙂

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