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Live music is roaring back to South Africa after prolonged Covid restrictions hit the territory’s industry hard, coupled with the closure of the 20,000-capacity Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg in July 2021 – the largest indoor venue.
Casino and hotels group Sun International runs the most established venues in the country.
Dave Lombard, events and entertainment manager at Sun International-owned GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town, says: “We have come back after the Covid lockdown stronger than ever. The amount of events currently happening has surpassed 2019 shows. We are seeing a huge increase in international shows returning.”
“We have come back after the Covid lockdown stronger than ever”
He says the Grand Arena is fully booked for the rest of this year, and the 2024 calendar is “already filling up quickly.”
In common with many markets, finding experienced crew is a challenge. Lombard says some sought opportunities overseas, particularly in the Middle East during South Africa’s extended Covid lockdowns.
“It’s putting strain on the experienced crew still here, and due to the large number of events, proper training of new teams is a challenge.” Among the artists performing in 2023 are Sting, Kevin Hart, Counting Crows, Backstreet Boys, and UB40. Still to come are Tamia, George Ezra, Deborah Cox & Musiq Soulchild, Trevor Noah, Westlife, and Bryan Adams.
“It’s putting strain on the experienced crew still here, and due to the large number of events, proper training of new teams is a challenge.”
The venue can be configured for 2,200-7,000 people and recently upgraded its PA with a full L-Acoustics K2 rig, with Kara II fills, and DiGiCo Quantum 338 desk.
The 8,000-capacity Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) has previously hosted the likes of Akon, Enrique Iglesias, and James Blunt. It underwent a major ZAR27.3m upgrade in 2019 and returned to live music this year with concerts including Boys II Men, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, and Trevor Noah.
“Concert attendees should look forward to some new exciting food & beverage offerings from the Durban ICC’s culinary team led by chef Clinton Bonhomme,” said chief operations officer John Aritho. “As a venue that takes pride in being an entertainment venue of choice, we are dedicated to making sure that our concerts are always enjoyable and stress-free experiences for all attendees.”
“As a venue that takes pride in being an entertainment venue of choice, we are dedicated to making sure that our concerts are always enjoyable and stress-free experiences for all attendees.”
Aritho says concerts are “critical for the social cohesiveness of the society, and we are very excited that all concerts at the Durban ICC have received great sales support from the public in ticket sales, as we would like to ensure that Durban gets back on the global entertainment scene and [returns to being the] centre of concerts, musical shows,and theatre productions.”