Sunday, 27 November 2011

Synergy Live

Synergy has come and gone once again. There was great anticipation for this years festival, blogs, radio stations, street lamps and social networks were flooded with the news of Synergy Live. Synergy is one of the biggest outdoor music festivals of the year, electrolites and rock heads come together to experience a weekend of epic madness and this years festival was bigger and better than ever before.

I went to Synergy last year, but this years' festival was definitely one for the books. We arrive at the site Friday evening the camping site was pretty packed already so we managed too squeeze our tent into a small section. Once we all settled in and our drinks were poured we headed to the dance area. The layout was a bit different from last year but I felt it was better to have the stages and the food separate. One of the biggest dilemmas I had for the day was trying to decide weather to watch Zebra and Giraffe or Shadow Club because I enjoy both of their music. At the end I decided to do 30min at both stages. I really do wish Shadow Club got a spot on the main stage rather than at the LMG stage, I think it would have been better. They were both amazing but I think Shadow Club won the battle in the end.

After Shadow Club we headed back to the main stage for some Good Luck, it was the first time I saw them live and they were exceptional. We spent most of the rest of the night owning the electro tent, jumping, stomping and throw the occasional yet unexpected fist pump. I discovered a new DJ which I really enjoyed called George Daniel. We danced until the end of the final set, I was determined to max out this weekend, who needs sleep anyways?

Just over two hours of sleep later, the sun rose and turned our tent into a sweat-lodge. We thought we would start our day off with some slushie so we waited in queue and as soon as we got to the front the guy told us we had to wait 20 min for the mixture to ice up. My cousin, Nikita, was persistent on getting that slush-puppie not knowing that our 20min wait would turn into a 45min wait. It was worth it though.

The day proceeded with much effort. Heat and sleep deprivation is not a good combination. I was lucky enough to catch some of the comedic performances as well. One of the funniest jokes I heard was when the guy said "What is up with those porty-potties, I went in there and it's like playing dance dance revolution when you want to flush the toilet and wash your hands" hahaha that's a classic one.

After a nice shower and change of clothes we were ready for round two, vodka in hand we headed to the dance floor. I was quite upset because I missed many of the bands I wanted to see like Tumi & The Volume, aKING, Hog Hoggidy Hog and Crash Car Burn as my friends prefer electro to rock so most of the festival was spent by the Red Bull stage. I did however catch Desmond and the Tutus who I really wanted to see live, and they were pretty entertaining especially with the lead singers spastic hand movements.

Jax Panik was by far the best act of the festival, he is like the David Guetta of South Africa. I jumped, and screamed for their entire set. It was truly incredible.We were between stages most of the night, from main to electro and back again. I got to see two of the headlining acts, BRMC (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) weren't as great as I expected them to be but Dirty Loud definitely made up for that. We jammed at the electro tent until the very end again. 

Although I didn't get to see all the acts I would have liked to see, I did have an incredible weekend over all. The best music, the best venue, the best spur burgers and the friendliest people can only be found at one place and that's Synergy Live. I also love their logo and website design. Check it out .

Now I am left with no voice, zinging ears, and a body that feels like its been hit by a truck but it is all worth it as the memories I acquired over the weekend can never be replaced! See you next year Synergy!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Grape Vine

Wine is a huge part of the South African culture and I have really became consumed in it, from the reds to the whites and even the sparkling. Wine tasting has become a hobbie rather than a pass time. I have always had a secrect love for wine, but now I truely understand the logistics behind it. I went on my first wine tasting experience in Stellenbosch at the start of the year. The Devon Valley Detour is a tasting experience offered by the company I work for. It consists of tastings at J.C. Le Roux, MiddleVlei, Clos Malverne and the Devon Valley Hotel. The tastings were lovely and the wines were exceptional, especially the sparklings wines at the house of J.C. Le Roux. If you have never been there before I highly recommend it, they offer numerous tastings including a nougat, sorbet, marshmallow and meringue pairing.

J.C. Le Roux

 Clos Malverne


The Stellenbosch Wine Festival was also one of the highlights of my year. We arrived late on the day so it was a race to try the best wines, some were stunning and easy to drink and others just tasted like cat pee. My love for white wine was evidant on this day, especially the Sauvignon Blanc wines.

I recently went to the launch of the new Ghost Tree Sauvignon Blanc wine at The Devon Valley Hotel, we also had the pleasure of trying their other award wining wines. Each wine was paired with a canapĂ© which complimented the wine. The SylvanVale Cabernet Sauvignon is also one of my favourites. After the launch we headed to Fairview Wine Estate for a cheese and wine pairing, they have some amazing wines and the estate itself is quite beautiful.

The Devon Valley Hotel

Fairview Wine Estate: 

The company I am currently working for owns a wine farm so I do many of the fact sheets, brochures and wine label designs for them. I have learnt amazing things like how the wine is made, the difference between wooded and unwooded wines and the importance of knowing what pairing best accompanies the wine.

The first wine label I did was for an in-house wine called Butchers Block Red. It is a blend and is served at the Skelligs Restaurant at Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa in Somerset West. The brief indicted that I should design something bold with an antique feel to it. The design was printed on regular paper and a spot varnish was put on the black areas on the front of the label:

The Ghost Tree Sauvignon wine was cultivated and bottle for sales purposes. It will be sold on a small scale, it is a lovely wine and one of my favorites from SylvanVale. The brief indicated that I design something simplistic and elegant to match the stature of white wine. This is the final design, I am very happy with how this label turned out. The design was printed on a textured white paper with a high build varnish finish.

Wine is has been around since the start of time, it is perfect for any day of the week. It helps relieve the stress of a long day at work and it allows for the perfect start to the weekend.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Flash Mobs

For the past couple of months I have had a burning desire to be part of a huge Flash Mob, and no I don’t mean streaking in public, I originally thought that’s what Flash Mobs did. I mean learning a dance that hundreds of people learn, all coming together in a public area and performing it to people who wouldn’t expect it.  After seeing numerous YouTube clips of the world’s biggest Flash Mobs, I just feel that one can get very creative with it, it’s beautiful and not to mention where Flash Mobs go so do the media. They have also recently included Flash Mob showcases in movies like Friends with Benefits and series like Modern Family.

Flash Mobs are huge overseas, people take it very seriously, the dances are timed to perfection, and many people are willing to participate in it. The T-Mobile Flash Mob that was done in England is probably one of the most well-known Flash Mobs in the world. This is a great example of how to get creative using other forms to promote your brand. Plus YouTube allows you to advertise to the world for free, you just have to make sure your idea is original and your number of hits will spin out of control.  

The Flash Mob Craze has unfortunately not caught on in South Africa; there are some failed attempts at it though like the Flash Mob that was done in Port Elizabeth but at least we tried:

And here is a similar version that was done in America:

I believe a Flash Mob is a brilliant way to unite people, and South Africa has the ability to create something quite unique with it especially when it comes to tourism. South Africa should have taken advantage of this unique form of entertainment to promote our big events, like the Soccer World Cup or the Seventh Wonder Campaign. The Waka Waka dance could have been learnt by all the South Africans and on the opening day the Soccer World Cup everyone across South Africa could have gather in the streets and did the dance, we would have got some major publicity and it would have encourage more people from across the world to come and visit our special country.

People might find that taking part in a Flash Mob could be quite difficult or take up a lot of time but with the power of social media and video chats, something like this can go viral in a second. People can learn dances, plan performance dates and organise music over the internet.

I think the best places to do a Flash Mob would be: 
  • At a concert; everyone could learn a dance to a specific song of the artist, maybe some cool hand movements, and then the crowd can do it together at the concert. I think the artist would feel very welcome and it would create an awesome atmosphere.
  • At a popular tourist destination like the Waterfront or in a crowded area like Canal Walk or Cape Town City Centre. Companies can make use of flash mobs to promote their brands, Vodacom could have encouraged thousands of people to learn a dance and at the end of the dance everyone could have taken off their shirts to reveal a red T-shirt with the Vodacom logo on to promote that they are changing their colour to red.
  • Flash Mobs can even be used to encourage people to raise funds for a specific cause, singing and learning a song which is associated with the specific charity organisation.

Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, and this is a great way to make that possible.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Music Festivals

With Synergy on our doorstep I thought it would only be fitting to do a post on my love for music festivals. Cape Town has the best music festivals in South Africa. When summer arrives so does the music. Some of you might have never experienced a music festival, which is a pity, but it mainly consists of a weekend away at a farm, in the middle of nowhere, where thousands of people come together to listen to South Africa's best local acts. Thanks to festivals like these, local artists are given the opportunity to perform to a mass audience and it allows their popularity to grow at an alarming rate. I saw most of my favorite local acts perform for the first time at music festivals. I fell in love with Jam Jarr at Earth Dance, The Dirty Skirts, Goldfish, Prime Circle and Jax Panik at Synergy, PH Fat at Rezonance and Haezer, El Gordo, Civil Twilight and Just Jinjer at Rocking the Daisies. These festivals accommodate a variety of performances from the likes of Rock bands to Electro DJ's and even comedic performances. All these genres of music are sectioned off into different stage areas. So you can travel from stage to stage depending on your mood.

Photo taken by Tara-Lee

You can choose to set up a tent and stay the entire weekend or you can come through on the Saturday and party through until the next day. I always enjoy going the full weekend as most of the best acts are usually on the Friday. There are numerous food outlets, bars and clothing stores to keep you occupied whilst you wait for your favorite acts to come on stage. Popular brands like Hunters, Ray Bands and Red Bull flock to music festivals like these. They often get promotional people to hand out flyers and freebies. I feel this is one of the best ways to promote your brand as you are interacting directly with your target audience. 

Most music festivals are held close to a dam or river so on overbearingly hot days you can take a trip down to the waterhole to cool yourself off. I usually spend the Saturday down by the river. The best thing about these music festival is that you get to meet some very interesting people, each with their own unique personality and by the end of the night you find yourselves all jamming to the same music. Music unites people in a way that nothing else can.

I have been to various types of music festivals from trance festivals like Rezonance, Earth Dance and Boomerang to Rock festivals like Synergy and Rocking the Daisies. These tickets don't come cheap but I love it so much, I would rather spend money on a festival than on anything else as there is nothing better than going crazy to your favorite bands and artists and compiling an overly large stack of memories.

I made a poster a while back for a competition that was running to win tickets to Rocking the Daisies, my luck fell short though. My concept for the poster was the "Rocking the Daisies Walk of Fame" I set the poster on grass and gave it a hippy like feel, because you know Cape Town has the most Hipsters in South Africa.


Earth Dance

 Photo taken by Bianca


 Photo taken by Adriana

I unfortunately didn't take my camera to Synergy last year but this year I will be taking it along so that I can share my journey through the weekend with you. I am currently entering a competition on the My City By Night Blog I even made a poster because I want to win a ticket so bad this time. I always spend tons of money on festivals so I feel it is only fair that I receive one free ticket for all my support of local music. Synergy also has an amazing line-up this year, many of the artists I have never seen live, like Zebra and Giraffe and Goodluck. This year promises to be better than the rest so I am looking forward to it!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Beluga Sushi Sensation

On Friday evening I truly had one of the best dining experiences of my life. It was my mothers birthday so I decided to take her and the family to one of the most talked about sushi spots in Cape Town, Beluga. I had high expectations for their quality of food and service and all my expectations were exceeded. You either have the option to sit inside or outside in their lovely terrace. I booked an inside table but when I arrived I was quite disappointed as I made the wrong decision, the outside terrace is absolutely breathtaking and the vibe was amazing.

Inside was a little more intimate though, we were lucky enough to get a window seat. Their decor is very classy, I love the combination of large black and white photographs against a brown face-brick wall. It really ties in with the corporate identity of the restaurant.

Our waiter was probably one of the best waiters I have ever been served by. He was friendly and had a great knowledge about every single item on the menu, he even gave his recommendations on what we should order. We all started off with some lovely cocktails, and then came the main course. I decided to try the duck and sweet BBQ sauce Dim Sim as I have heard some great things about this dish. That Dim Sim was without a doubt the most tastiest dish I have ever eaten! Prawn California Rolls, Prawn Maki and Tuna Crunch was among the sushi dishes we order. The presentation of the food was also beautiful.

The waiter was kind enough to bring my mom a beautifully decorated desert plate wishing her a happy birthday as well as a cocktail on the house. I felt like this made her evening extra special and she deserves nothing less. A perfect night for the perfect mom.

Now on to the good stuff. The corporate branding of Beluga is exactly what I would expect from such a fine restaurant.  I couldn't get my hands on their business card but I did however download thier menu from their website. Their logo is simplistic and easy to read which is exactly what you want when it comes to logo design for an elegant restaurant. Their menu makes use of sans-serif fonts, bold colours (red, black and white) and large images to really sell the product. The layout is clean cut (geometric) and the content of the menu really explains each and every dish perfectly.

I also love their website design, it feels like you are viewing a magazine, once again large images are used which is great as people are more inclined to remember images rather than "boring" text. All their design elements have continuity, even the sister restaurants match the overall branding of the Caviar Group (Beluga forms part of this restaurant group) take a look at their website for yourself:
The Caviar Resturant group website:

Although I didn't get a business card with Beluga branding, I did however manage to get my hands on the Caviar Group and Seruga Restaurant business cards. I love the Seruga logo the most out of all the logo's for the Caviar Group. It is creative and distinguished all at the same time, the black and white also works stunning together. I like that the logo is big on the front and that the contact details are on the back, as you are trying to sell the brand not the contact numbers.

Once again their branding proves that less is more "Keep It Simple Stupid" (KISS) is a great motto to live by when designing elements for restaurants. I applaud the graphic designer who worked on the Caviar Group's branding, a job well done. Beluga will be seeing a lot more of me in the future, and I can't wait to try the rest of their food on their menu.