Capetonians are in for a treat. The month is bookended with two international cultural events – the Design Indaba festival opening on day 1 and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival opening on day 31.
The Design Indaba is one of the most inspiring creative events of the year, and although it no longer takes the form of an expo, there’s still lots of activities for the public to enjoy.
The Jazz Festival, which has just earned a place on the Fest300 2016 World’s Best Festivals List, mixes local musicians and international music stars in a famously friendly and feelgood atmosphere that attracts music-lovers from all around the country. It takes place at the CTICC and tickets are R690 for a day or R1 190 for a weekend pass. See the programme on www.capetownjazzfest.com
For 18 years the festival has always kicked off with a free community concert in Greenmarket Square. This year it’s at 17:00 on Wednesday, 29 March.
In between these cornerstones, the festival is a calendar packed with more.
The sixth Cape Town International Animation Festival (3 to 5 March) offers presentations and masterclasses for animation students and professionals at the River Club in Observatory. For the general public, there is a programme of animated films at the Labia that looks like a treat, including a Japanese Showcase (10 works from the Japan Media Arts Festival 2016) and The Best of Annecy 2016, among other treasures for young and old.
There are more free concerts, in addition to the Jazz Festival show in Greenmarket Square. Concerts in the Park is a non-profit company which aims to make music accessible to all and to bring people into our beautiful city parks. They will present two Sunday afternoon shows in historic and lovely De Waal Park in Oranjezicht: Hotwater on the 5th and Freshlyground on 19 March.
Laughter is guaranteed at Improguise’s 5th Annual Improv festival at the Alexander Bar from 6 to 12 March. Cape Town’s very longrunning improv troupe presents six nights of different theatre sports, including some new ones and some old favourites. How can you resist “The Show Currently Known as Tribute – an improvised tribute show about a made up band, with real, made up songs based on titles from the audience”?
The Cape Town Carnival on Saturday, 18 March is a big street party and everyone is invited. The theme this year is AMAZA - Ocean Odyssey, and the floats and costumes will run to all life forms connected to the sea. The parade will start at 19:00 but for early arrivals, there’ll be activity on the Fan Walk from 15:00 and you can eat or drink on a restaurant terrace while you wait. Entry to the parade area is free and tickets are available for seated areas along the route.
In keeping with the carnivalesque, Artscape presents a lavish extravaganza production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert from 26 March to 23 April, based on the loved and lauded movie about three drag artists on the road trip of a lifetime.
The second Lindy Hop Festival from 3 to 26 March draws people to Cape Town from far and wide for a weekend of workshops and swinging jazz parties. The dance workshops will cater to all levels including absolute beginners and top teachers from four continents are expected. There was no venue advertised at the time of writing. Keep an eye on www.mothercityhop.com
Finally, one of the long-standing highlights of the Cape Town scene, Infecting the City takes place on 31 March and 1 April. Described by the organisers as “a forum for pan-African cultural and social exchange,” the festival gives performance artists a platform in various public spaces within the city. One of the pleasures of ITC is to see your own city as if for the first time.