Cape Town: End of an era looms for local metal scene

Cape Town, South Africa: it’s not every day that our foundations get rocked. Today, however, we’ve heard the news which many a metalhead in this city has long been dreading.

299 Lower Main Road: Gandalf’s / ROAR to close in 2018

Gandalf's ROAR
Ian McKellan posing at 299 Lower Main Road. Photographer: unknown
In a statement released by the business owner, Antonio Manuel, via social media today, he tells us that the venue will be closing before the end of the current year. Possibly considerably sooner, depending on factors surrounding the circumstances of the closure.

“The Landlord at Gandalf’s has finally decided to sell the venue. He has been an amazing guy all these years and I cannot blame him for wanting to sell; especially the way property value has increased in Obs.” ~ Antonio Manuel

This signifies a massive loss for the metal community of this city, with the upstairs venue in particular where ROAR is often lauded as having the best stage and FOH live sound. Also, venue management has always kept things affordable and accessible to a diverse range of people and making 299 Lower Main Road the place to meet new people from different backgrounds.

Every cloud has its silver lining

Antonio developed into a well-known and well-liked figure in the Cape Town alternative scene for the better part of two decades. Not only did he open Gandalf’s in the early 2000s, and consequently ROAR too; but also involved himself in other fondly remembered activities such as the Rock The River outdoor festivals spanning 2012-2013, as well as hosting scene-building activities at his Trenchtown business. These include Metal Band Braai‘s, hosting public meetings on behalf of, and even sponsoring generous prizes for things that he stood not to profit from.

As Antonio jokes, he can now finally consider enjoying a holiday!

For the musician community, there now exists an opportunity to reinvent itself. Nothing drives invention quite like need. We’ll be facing turbulent times ahead, but we’ve faced them before and with the help and guidance of people just like Antonio and his legendary staff over the years, we’ve had opportunity to mature a lot as a live music scene. Our time to leave the nest is coming soon.

“It has been fun times with lots of amazing people. We will be hosting a few last parties before our final closing party in May or December of this year. Thanks for all the memories and I hope to see you all one last time before we close our doors.” ~ Antonio Manuel

We will post more about the story of 299 Lower Main Road and its people to honour it before it closes for good. In the meantime, don’t miss out on your last precious memories to be created here.

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