Electronic music lovers are preparing for the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF) for the third year running.

The festival, which showcases the range South Africa has to offer with regards to electronic production over the past 15 years, runs from the Friday to Sunday at The Grand Parade in Darling Street, and not at the V&A Waterfront as in previous years.

It differs from many other festivals as it is based in the city. In just three years, the fest has expanded greatly and while local producers remain the core focus, this year several international acts have been added to the line-up.

This year the CTEMF was voted by Resident Advisor, the electronic online music magazine, as one of the Top 10 festivals and made it onto Beatport’s Top 10 Boutique Festivals You Need to Attend list.

However, perhaps the biggest sign of progress is the support received from the Department of Arts and Culture, making what usually would be considered an underground festival officially recognised by local government.

Founder Duncan Ringrose says: “Designing the space was a big challenge for this year, since the Grand Parade is flat. We are bringing in shipping containers to build an environment. But to get the Grand Parade was not really the main challenge.

“Much to my joy, we are working with the city now. They came on board to help with securing the venue.”

The inaugural CTEMF in 2012 boasted an all-South African line- up over three days, showcasing the hottest talent then on the scene. Last year, techno pioneer Richie Hawton was the only international guest to make the bill.

This year, UK dubstep producer Benga was to be the festival’s main headliner. However, just short of a week before the festival was to take place, he announced that he had decided to retire from Dj-ing, leaving the CTEMF organisers to make a last-minute shuffle to secure a new headline act.

Benga will be replaced by compatriot and fellow dubstep producer, Caspa (pictured). The rest of the line-up includes Cid Rim, Dixon, Jazzy Jay, Noisia, Crazy White Boy, Dirty Parrafin, DJ Black Coffee and more.

Week-long workshops form a core part of the festival each year, as do lectures and artist and label showcases. There is also the BassXchange, a competition via Mixcloud in association with the British Council that aims to facilitate a cross-cultured collaboration. Red Bull is the main partner and sponsor of the festival and they have a long association with Ringrose, who has been co-ordinating events in the city for the past 10 years.

The fest also continues The Deep End, which is one-on-one studio time where people get to learn from established producers.

This year the local producers will be Sibot, Thibo Tazz and Crazy White Boy.

Ringrose comments: “A core part of CTEMF is the focus on the industry that operates behind the scenes – on those mechanisms that make it tick. This is presented through a series of workshops, lectures and showcases that dig deep into the workings of this industry and open it up for interaction with those aspiring to start careers in this field.

“In this sense it’s the first South African electronic music event that puts as much focus on the scene’s own broad-based development as it does on its public-facing performance aspect.”


• CTEMF, Friday to Sunday at The Grand Parade, Cape Town. Tickets: www.webtickets.co.za. Full weekend pass: R500, day pass: R200. See www.ctemf.com.