Which tent came out top's at this year's #VDJ2018?

If you think fashion is over the top at the Durban July, wait until you step inside the marquees. Each year, companies go all out to lavish their guests in all things luxury. From personalised bar's, photo booths and magical themes, these marquees have it all.

Here’s a sneak peek of what guests experienced this year:


The Chaise Lounge played host to 500 guests. With a Moët & Chandon vending machine as their prime party favour — apparently the same kind Kris Jenner was gifted by John Legend this year — as just one aspect of the lavish and food and drinks spectacle, guests were clearly pampered.

At R6000 a person, guests were treated to 15-minute spa treatments and even a cold buffet of prawn cocktail shots, cheese boards and smoked chicken salad before the hot buffet of rib lamb shot with mint garlic and mash potatoes, peri peri chicken drumlets and a selections of stir frys.

Dinner in Durban was of course a curry buffet.

The Chaise Lounge was undoubtedly one of the best of the day. Decked in black gold and white, the marquee played host to international E! Entertainment correspondent Zuri Hall.  


Tourism KwaZulu-Natal pulled out all the stops to lavish their 400 guests, some as far as Botswana and Namibia, with an authentic African experience.

Mpume Sibiya of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal said the theme was It Is Time... to Shine.

This was the perfect selfie stop, with a make-up artist on standby to help freshen up and photobooth to get your pic thereafter.

Chocolate brown leather lounges, and upholstered armchairs made for a luxurious setting.


*Amstel Boomtown had energy.

The stage, the music, the set-up was epic. Situated at what must have been the furthest part ‘end’ of the event, this huge ‘tentville’ had round and square crisp, white tables and chairs. There were three bar areas and amenities included a shoe shine service for the gents. The clean decor was set to green ferns and banana leaves. The space was divided into general access for normal folk, the VIP area, and the VVIP area. There was a buffet set up and guests of the VIP and VVIP had access to unlimited alcohol.

* No expenses were spared at the Glenlivets Jazztown marquee this year. 

 With flowers and lights hanging from the ceiling and different types of seat arrangements: from couches to cocktail tables this year’s decor was pared-back.

Stocked up bars on either side of the marquees made life easy to grab a whiskey on ice or and iced tea. The marquee alluded to sophistication and the guests dressed the same.


La Galleria having been touted the foodie marquee of 2018, garnered a great deal of press attention. VDJ first-timers, they pulled out all the stops. Gin and tonic cocktails were the welcome drink into an upmarket and mature decor scene that oozed luxury.

What set this marquee apart from all others was an all-inclusive culinary master class showcasing Italian cuisine paired and mixology session.


Durban Tourism’s dome shaped marquee was one aspect of their transitional event within and event. The decor was inspired by Durban’s sunshine and warmth with African-inspired throws, scatter cushions and table overlays for a burst of colour.

They wanted their 600 guests to be immersed in an authentic Durban experience that showcased an array of cultures, heritages and tourist attractions and we think they succeeded. Durban Tourism offered guests free coffee at their Starbucks station and a  marimba band entertained throughout the day. Other attractions included a champagne garden and a karaoke lounge. Finger food in artistic plating were served to guests throughout the evening.


The Vodacom Paddock, overlooking the finish line from the grandstand was arguably the most exclusive venue, based on access. Clocks featured predominantly in the decor at the paddock, which had a clock wall as well as food served on clocks. Sprinkling of purple blooms decorated the buffet table but the real attractions was a virtual soccer screen; photo station guaranteed to make you feel like a covergirl; whisky/ coffee and gin bar.