SummerFest’21: how it’ll be done

SummerFest'21 Artwork Preview
SummerFest’21 artwork created by Luke Stroebel

Cape Town, South Africa: at M4A we’re ready to share our plan for the continuation of our beloved bi-annual festival, SummerFest and WinterFest, in the post-Covid-19 world. Our sights are set now on SummerFest’21 for 30 January.

And following our online version of WinterFest’20 earlier this year, the questions are, primarily:

  • When will we do another live concert festival?
  • Will we preserve some form of online element?
  • How are we going to monetize the concept to ensure its survival?

SummerFest’21: Saturday 30 January, 2021

We all agree that we want a definite and sooner-than-later return to a full-blown live festival. However, our various stakeholders believe that January will not yet be the time for this.

SummerFest’19: photograph courtesy of Christopher Tatzreither

Our goals for 2021 are therefore to continue on our spectacular learning curve for online experiences for SummerFest’21 in January (30th), whilst also preparing for a full return to live festivals in in July (31st) with WinterFest’21.

We learned plenty from WinterFest’20 online during the super restrictive stage of lockdown.

Apart from tech stuff, mostly we learned that we could still have fun; but we also learned that we have friends spread all over South Africa, and abroad, who enjoyed being a part of our work. Our vision is to grow this online footprint and then to merge online and physical into a new kind of hybrid festival as soon as possible; so soon, in fact, that you’ll see we’re already laying groundwork for this with SummerFest’21. Now that we’ve sampled it, we want the best of both worlds!

Of course, this sounds ambitious during the mess of 2020. It is. WinterFest’20 was the first festival we’ve done in all thirteen years where we just went and spent money we knew we’d never recover. There was no risk involved; it was a conscious decision to spend. Our attitude was that it would serve as a learning curve – school fees, sort of – and necessary during a time where we wanted to preserve something precious to our community. The money was not wasted. However, we do need a plan for the future, or else we’re basically at the end of the line.

Fortunately, there is a plan. Start by joining our Facebook event page.

SummerFest'21 help us make this

Fundraising: something-for-something

It feels important to keep the online part of our event free for everybody to sign in. We know many friends who have lost jobs or live on reduced income now. And remember: M4A is a community organization; not a company.

We’re also not too interested in a rapid donations campaign putting pressure on more fortunate people. We already receive bread-and-butter funding via True Believers (the guys & gals who use the red carpet to enter at our physical events – they all donate a small amount every month).

For those who can spend, our wish is to offer you something-for-something, wherever you are in the country; if you want to support our cause then these are your options:

1. Buy a SummerFest’21 limited edition T-shirt

We’ve been printing festival T-shirts mostly on pre-order very successfully since 2012. By this method you can make a financial commitment in advance, with delivery only on festival day (if collected) or after (if couriered).

Please email (address in the graphic below) the following info when requesting a shirt:

  • Name & Surname
  • Telephone number
  • Shirt type: standard (mens/unisex); ladies (hourglass shape, round neck); vest (mens or ladies)
  • Shirt size: standard shirts available in S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL and 5XL; ladies & vests available in XS, S, M, L, XL and 2XL only.
  • Preferred method of delivery: collect at event or M4A HQ address (Cape Town); courier via Aramex (+R99 shipping fee); counter-to-counter collection at local PEP Store branch (+R55 shipping fee). If you want to keep your options open for now, that’s okay too.
  • Any other comment or inquiry

2. Come and headbang with us at a “warm-up” party

If you’re a starved-out socialite and are willing to face a few people in a pub, join us at one (or more) of the warm-up parties we’re hosting.

Date bookings so far include:

  • 31 October @ Ellingtons (Bellville, CT) – feature event: Hallowed Scream
  • 07 November @ Trenchtown (Observatory, CT)
  • 28 November @ Ellingtons (Bellville, CT)
  • 05 December @ Trenchtown (Observatory, CT)

M4A staff members are teaming up with a couple of venues to do some social events where we ourselves will be your hosts/DJs for “mini” nights of Friendship and Metal – sadly just not live bands for now (we’ll get back there, we promise!). Entry cost will be low (R30 per person) and more of a token, where proceeds will help to finance our online event digital infrastructure requirements.

Come and hang out with us, catch up, and enjoy some good music for a nominal fee that helps us with this goal for SummerFest’21. We will populate with Facebook event pages and other details within the days ahead.

3. Attend a Watch Party on the day of SummerFest’21: multiple venues, multiple cities

Go big or go home! If we’re trying to make our festival a truly national event – as we’ve caught a glimpse of with this last one – we need to start focusing beyond only Cape Town in every possible way.

We’re partnering up with venues in several cities to host social gatherings – watch parties – where locals can attend, socialize, and generally get involved with SummerFest’21 on a national scale. We see the possibility for a very exciting future in this if the public shows us that they want it. Especially when a return to live music becomes viable again!

Venues committed so far include:

Metronome (Brackenfell, CT) ~ 150 max tickets
Ellingtons (Bellville, CT) ~ 75 max tickets
Trenchtown: inside bar area (Observatory, CT) ~ 50 max tickets
The Winston Pub (Durban)
JARR Bar (Pretoria)

Venues where discussions are underway:

Warriors Pub (Bloemfontein)
Rumours Lounge (Randburg, JHB)
1610 Pub & Grill (Edenvale, JHB)
Pool City (Port Elizabeth)

Ticket prices will be a little more substantial (R50 per person) for those able to support the cause and have a good time whilst doing so. These funds specifically will be directed at remunerating bands who participate in the online aspect of the festival. Request your ticket/s here. As in the video above (thank you, Max & Aneza), Zar Goth Emporium will give away a R2,000 voucher via lucky draw – purchasing a ticket automatically qualifies you into the draw.

4. Sign up to be a True Believer member

True Believers, a donations-based membership club, has been in operation since 2012. This is the lifeblood of the M4A operation on a day-to-day basis without which we would have disappeared years ago. For a modest monthly donation (value of your choice) the main perk is VIP access to all of our festival events. It is not uncommon for other opportunities for members to benefit from, such as financial assistance with other (non-M4A) ticket purchases from time to time. Mainly, we don’t advertise this too much because our goal is to attract, truly, the True Believers the work that we do.

Sign up for membership.

Find out more about True Believers and/or inquire via the Facebook page.

Follow the Facebook event page for SummerFest’21.

Okay, but which bands are involved?

Good question. Submissions officially open today (link down below).

The rest of this article is directed to band members.

Things we learned from WinterFest’20 that you should know

One of the most surprising things we learned from WinterFest’20 is what kind of content/experience the audience seemed to enjoy the most. As it turns out, it was not the typical performance filmed and streamed. In conversations following this realization we’ve learned that it’s because watching a band through a monitor, playing to a camera does not substitute the feelings people get from experiencing real thing. The majority of audience loses interest. However, there were some elements of WinterFest’20 where the audiences stayed very well-engaged. The solo artists.

We don’t believe that the solo artists did well by any kind of fluke, nor do we feel that any band effort was a failure per se.

What made the solo artists more engaging was that they mostly provided a different kind of content; not a less exhilarating version of what people expect to experience from them (ie: a static live performance, filmed and broadcast). They had to think out of the box and offer something new. This worked and they reached – and kept – a wide audience.

What we’d like for SummerFest’21

This is the approach we’d like to motivate bands towards for SummerFest’21. We will work with you, as best as we can, to help you to achieve something out of the ordinary.

If you and your band has anything like the following coming up within the next four months (ie: October to January), we’d like to hear from you RIGHT NOW!!

  • EP or Album launch
  • Single or Music Video releases
  • Any other kind of Recording or Filming projects, especially containing new material

If you have none of the listed above, but believe that you can put together 20 minutes of quality fresh, out-of-the-box-thinking content within 3 months (deadline for completed content is Friday 8 January), we’d love to hear from you as well, right now.

NOTE: because of the online character of the coming event, artists from anywhere in South Africa may offer a submission, including solo artists, provided that your base genre is Metal music.

Please fill in the submission form here.

We’d like to invite you to use M4A’s SummerFest’21 as a platform to premiere your fresh and exciting content. We’ll put in the work to make sure that qualifying artists reach a widespread audience for a special occasion. We do not claim ownership or rights over any content, and will only request permission to live stream it once, for the first time, on the day of SummerFest’21. We will make no recordings or do repeat broadcasts unless specifically asked by the artist to do so.