Picture: Facbook
Johannesburg - Wynand Myburgh had a dream - to find the money to let iconic Bellville band Fokofpolisiekar make the album they wanted to make.

Now the band has smashed local crowdfunding records and might be giving Gauteng fans a free concert, if they hit the next target.

As Myburgh explained to the Saturday Star this week, there’s no money left in making music.No one’s buying vinyl or CDs; those who can are paying to have their music streamed, the others are just pirating it. But it costs a lot of money to make an album.

Myburgh, Fokof’s bass player and manager, set himself a budget of half a million rand. He used Thundafund to host the appeal and launched it on March 22, with a 60-day deadline.

His initial estimates, though, were hopelessly conservative: in 48 hours they’d raised R180 000. After five days, they were half way there, and nine days into the campaign they hit R500 000.

So the band set new incentives. If they could reach R700 000, they’d hold a free concert for fans in Cape Town.

This week they made good on their pledge, announcing the gig would be held at Mercury Live on May 25.

Gauteng will be next if they hit R800 000.

The actual pre-sales of the as yet unnamed album have been minuscule; most of the money has come in the form of e-commerce buying unique band merchandise from jackets to hi-top takkies, sunglasses and band members’ kit - like Hunter Kennedy’s acoustic guitar, which went for R25 000 within the first hour.

“The sad thing,” says Myburgh, “is that music in its recorded format does not have much value.

"What we have done has been reward based. It’s not just relying on people to buy the album beforehand, it’s not just pledging for something, but also allowing them to buy other stuff.

“We haven’t pre-sold that many albums, but clearly people are interested in helping us out, so we decided to say thanks to everyone by putting on a free concert. It’s a party, there’s no cover charge.”

The band needs to record what will be only its third album, since forming back in 2003.

“We only play 60 shows every year because we are all busy with our own projects (Van Coke Cartel, A-king, Heuwels Fantasties, among others) outside the band, but when we do play, we would see 18-year-olds in the crowd, which means when we started they were six years old. So, there’s an energy, there’s still interest for our music and we wanted to reflect that by writing for their generation too.”

This is not the first example of music crowdfunding in South Africa - Kahn Morbee of the Parlotones has done it, as has Afrikaans troubadour Koos Kombuis. Fokof’s bid, though, is the fastest and the biggest.

The new album is scheduled for release in October.

“We’re super excited by the response, blown away actually,” says Myburgh. “It’s added a new dimension to the whole writing process. It’s lit a fire under our arses. We can focus on the creative side.”

If you would like to know more about #Fokofcrowdfunding, go to https://www.thundafund.com/project/fokofpolisiekar

Saturday Star