Music Review: Parklife Festival 2019 – Convincing Curation, Or Fine Focus Fulfilled


Bruce Dennill

Writer. Reader. Singer. Songwriter. Believer. Likes to learn.

All content by Bruce Dennill first published on pARTicipate, republished with permission.
Bruce Dennill


Parklife Gourmet Food And Music Festival / Emmarentia Botanical Garden, Johannesburg

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There’s a pleasing trend in South African music festivals that is seeing stronger line-ups curated for specific audiences – rather than the hit-and-miss strategy of piling a bunch of artists onto a schedule and hoping that at least a few will hit the mark – and also charging ticket prices that feel appropriate rather than apologetic.

Parklife 2019 featured a mostly guitar-driven collective, bar the lone house and pop inclusion of Lady Zamar, who was both popular and confident enough to ensure that her set didn’t feel like an anomaly sound-wise. Sandwiched between festivals celebrating Afrikaans and urban music respectively, it also featured artists performing exclusively, or at least predominantly, in English.

Setting the bar unreasonably high at the outset, a relaxed, genial Werner Bekker showcased the range of techniques – percussive lap slide (if that is a…

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