For renowned entertainer Loukmaan Adams, December 16, which marks Reconciliation Day, usually means voorsmaakie.
“Everyone from different suburbs all over Cape Town rush off to the Bo-Kaap, we blow our trumpets and we celebrate what’s to come or we celebrate what is lost.”
Mr Adams, who is from Eastridge in Mitchell’s Plain, said when he realised that the festivities of the residents of Bo-Kaap and the switching on of the festive lights in the city were not planned to take place this year, he wanted to showcase a celebration where Capetonians could celebrate artists, while maintaining good health and their safety too.
So this year, after a difficult and unpredictable two years, he has put together a new music festival, Unity On The Square, which will aim to promote a sense of unity, hope, and love this holiday season, when it takes centre stage on Greenmarket Square.
He said the concert was to try to recreate the spirit of Reconciliation Day in Bo-Kaap with artists united on one stage, trying to forward that same message but in a more controlled environment.
The event will feature a line-up of popular local and emerging artists performing after a two-year hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic, including Jimmy Nevis, Chad Saaiman, Craig Lucas, Jarrad Ricketts, Alistair Izobell, Nur Abrahams, Robin Pieters, Salome, Karin Kortje, RJ & Lkay, Don Vino, Paxton Fielies, Garth Taylor, Loukmaan Adams, Acoustic Element, Carl Webber, Mel Jones, Sasha-Lee Davids, Kurt Langeveldt and The Pedestrians.
Unity On The Square will also host a number of markets and vendors throughout the day including halaal food trucks, local traders and a coffee bar. There will be mobile data give-aways as well as event and artist merchandise for sale.
The concert will also see legendary musician and producer David Kramer perform alongside these artists on the day, while langarm bands, Malay choirs and a marimba band are set to keep audiences entertained.
Mr Adams said he and his colleagues in the entertainment industry suffered financially over the past two years and were not able to perform on stage like they always have done over the years. As a musician and an artist, he said has seen his and fellow arists’ gigs being cancelled, which is what they relied on to survive.
“As an artist, technician, sound engineer, you book your gig three to six months ahead so you have an idea of your performances and how you need to prepare. It also takes its toll on your family life – what you are able to provide, and what you can no longer give.”
He said it was really sad watching lots of friends who are artists sell equipment – their livelihood – just to put food on the table.
“I saw an opportunity to create productions and showcases that will literally help us bring joy to our hearts but also to those of fellow music enthusiasts too.”
Mr Adams said this is the first event under his new company, Loukmaan Adams Productions Ltd, which was formed earlier this year – due to the minimal events and gigs being made available to musicians.
“This event was a challenging one. For the first time I now know what it’s all about – convincing the authorities to buy into the concept not just to employ musicians, artists and dancers but everything that goes with it.
“We’ve got vendors who haven’t made sales, the fence rentals, the toilet guys who haven’t been working; the security guards, the ushers and the marshals… the list goes on. It’s one massive machine of people we are employing so that they can buy bread, milk and maybe treat their households to Christmas presents.”
Mr Adams said as Covid-19 divided everyone, the artists are looking forward to being united on stage after two years of enduring the life-changing pandemic.
“Most of the artists chosen, I have had a personal connection with and we have helped each other out in the past two years. However, there were artists I haven’t worked with in a while, so I decided to mix it up.
“I also know that many artists suffered during the pandemic and Unity On The Square affords a number of artists to be on one stage together and allow the healing touch of music, to unite us during these crazy, and trying times we find ourselves in – while also spreading some festive season cheer.”
Mr Adams said the festival will implement strict Covid-19 protocols, to ensure music enthusiasts are enjoying the festivities while also being safe.
“The safety of patrons, crew and participants remains a priority for all events hosted in Cape Town. Event organisers will screen attendees, enforce the wearing of masks, ensure physical distancing at venues and insist attendees sanitise their hands at all times during these events.”
The festival is the first of many planned events and productions he hopes to bring to life.
“Audiences can expect different genres of music and entertainment celebrating culture, tradition, family, hope, love, unity and kicking off the festive season for whatever the new year holds for us.
“For me, just to be able to stand on a stage and follow all protocols and to just hear an audience clap or laugh for a joke after all the online events must be the best feeling ever.“
The event will take place on Greenmarket Square in the city centre from 1pm to 9pm.
Ticket prices range from R75 to R350 and are available via Quicket.
Those interested in having a store at the Unity On The Square can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and prices.